English R1B

Reading & Composition: Making Heirs and Heirlooms

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
18 Spring 2014 Lorden, Jennifer A.
TTh 12:30-2 225 Wheeler

Book List

Boland, Eavan, trans.: After Every War: Twentieth Century Women Poets; Delanty, Greg, ed.: The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation; Rich, Adrienne: The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems, 1950-2000; Walcott, Derek: Collected Poems, 1948-1984; Wright, C.D.: One With Others

Other Readings and Media

Other readings will be posted to bSpace.


After the Irish Civil War, W.B. Yeats wondered, "Did that play of mine send out / Certain men the English shot?" But in a poem in honor of Yeats, W.H. Auden famously assured us that “poetry makes nothing happen," while Paul Muldoon put it more to the point: "if Yeats had saved his pencil-lead, / would certain men have stayed in bed?” Writers have always had a fraught relationship with their own times and the events that have shaped them. Like Yeats, they have struggled with the social and political implications literature might have or fail to have. This class will explore how writers of the last 100 years have responded to and written history, in their own words and in translating the words of others. What does it mean to write the poetry of the past? What responsibility does literature have to its own era and to those that follow it? In turn, what duty might writers have to their own literary inheritance? 

For the purposes of this class we are neither poets nor historians but researchers whose practical task will be to develop arguments from the texts at hand. You’ll share your findings through in-class discussions and writing workshops, exploring the difficulties of constructing an argument in response to the arguments of others. You’ll write two research papers and revise one of them, in addition to a short initial diagnostic exercise.

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