English 190

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Spring 2019 Shoptaw, John
TTh 2-3:30 211 Dwinelle

Book List

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

Other Readings and Media

Further readings will be collected in our course reader, available at Krishna Copy (University and Milvia) by our first class meeting.

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 her 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, exaltation 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 reading of a single poem.  Your seminar paper will gather a collection of poems on a topic of your choosing, in conversation with recent criticism.  By the end of the seminar, you will be reading and writing on Dickinson with pleasure and brilliance.  (No kidding!)

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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