English 170

Literature and the Arts: Literature and Music

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2017 Falci, Eric
MW 11-12 + discussion sections F 11-12 141 McCone

Book List

Morrison, Toni: Jazz


In this course, we will think about the strangely vital links between literature and music.  Beginning in the early nineteenth century, we’ll track a series of crossings, conjunctions, and fissures.  We’ll think about the place of music, and of ideas about music, within literary Romanticism.  We’ll watch what happens as classical music in the mid-nineteenth century becomes increasingly literary-minded, and how poets in the late nineteenth century experimented with sound and rhythm.  We’ll pair a few of the key texts of literary modernism with touchstones of modern music.  We’ll trace the emergence of blues poetry and jazz poetry in the Harlem Renaissance and into the 1960s.  We’ll watch the basic categories of music and literature dissolve and reform in the work of avant-garde writers and musicians throughout the twentieth century.  We’ll speculate about the literariness of folk and pop music and the poetics of hip hop.  Throughout, we’ll watch poetry and narrative attempt to be like music, and songs and scores act like literature.  

The great majority of texts and music will be available in a course reader and/or on bCourses, and students will be responsible for writing two essays and taking a final exam.  We'll read texts by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Stéphane Mallarmé, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Fred Moten, Rita Dove, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Lin-Manual Miranda, among a number of others.  And we'll listen to a lot of music.

Discussion Sections

101 D'Silva, Eliot
F 11-12 106 Moffitt
102 Ehrlinspiel, Hannah Kathryn
F 11-12 103 Moffitt
103 Wise, Diana Catherine
F 11-12 204 Wheeler

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List