English 190

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2015 Shoptaw, John
TTh 9:30-11 206 Wheeler

Book List

Dickinson, Emily: Selected Letters (ed., Johnson); Dickinson, Emily: The Poems of Emily Dickinson (ed. Franklin);

Recommended: Habegger, Alfred: My Wars are Laid Away In Books

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader (available at Krishna Copy).

Description

This seminar will provide you with a sustained reading course in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, my favorite poet.  We’ll begin with her early poetry, and trace her evolution into the singular poet we read today, with particular attention to her hymn forms and her figures.  We’ll also consider how her poems might be read in relation to history and biography.  Since Dickinson wrote most of her poetry in the span of a few years, we’ll group and read her poems largely by topics.  Our topics will include love and gender, definition and riddle, poetics, nature, religion, death and dying, suspense, horror, loneliness, pain and despair, self in society and by itself, abolition and war.  We’ll also delve into her manuscripts of individual poems, packets of poems, and letters.  Especially with her later poems, the distinctions between verses, poems, and letters become hazy.  To gauge Dickinson’s singularity and commonness, we will also read poems and essays by her contemporaries (e.g., Lydia Sigourney, Ralph Emerson, Henry Longfellow, Helen Hunt Jackson).  Your first paper will be a descriptive reading, on your own, of a single poem.  In your seminar paper, you will take up a collection poems on a topic of your choosing, in conversation with other critics.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

 

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