English R1B

Reading and Composition: Poetic Richness

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2005 Vitaliy Eyber
MWF 11-12 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Shakespeare, W.: Hamlet, Macbeth

The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 4th edition

MLA Handbook "


"Literature as art and, more specifically, poetry and poetic drama as art will be our main concern in this class. We will be reading some of the most famous plays and poems in the language and talking about the ways they give their readers the experiences of poetic richness. Poetic richness is a very broad term I am using to describe the multiple harmonies of sound and meaning that constitute the aesthetics of poetry. Apart from savoring the works on the reading list, we will consider them critically: we will ponder the ways such things as irony, ambiguity, paradox, to name a few, create layers of coherence and complexity that often escape conscious attention of casual readers. Ultimately, we will be concerned with what it is that makes these works beautiful, and what impact they make upon the minds of their readers. In many ways this course is meant to be an accessible college-level introduction to poetry and poetic drama and to provide you with the tools for critical observation that will come in handy in a variety of majors.

Since this is an R1B course, my main objective is to make you able to construct complex academic arguments based on sound research. The reading load of primary texts for this course is light. Therefore you will spend a good deal of time exploring secondary sources, first under my guidance and then on your own. You will undertake several small research projects. For instance, when dealing with Hamlet, you may be asked to ground your account of this work in the responses of professional scholars or casual spectators of a given historical period.

Or, I may ask you to consider a film or a TV adaptation of Macbeth in the light of your own understanding of that play. You can expect some work with electronic resources: for instance, with online journal databases and the Oxford English Dictionary. By the end of the semester you will know what a solid academic essay looks like and will be able to produce one of your own. In fact, for this class you will produce two: a medium-length paper in lieu of the mid-term and a longer one (10-12 pages). These will be, to a large extent, thoughtful revisions and compilations of your small research projects, as well as culminations of your written work in this class. You can also expect some peer editing and group work. "

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