English 203

Graduate Readings: Nineteenth-Century U. S. Historical Poetics

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2019 Otter, Samuel
Tues. 3:30-6:30 note new location: 211 Dwinelle

Book List

Dickinson, E.: The Poems of Emily Dickinson; Emerson, R.W.: Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Major Poetry; Horton, G. M.: The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry; Larson, K. : The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Poetry; Melville, H.: Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War; Piatt, Sarah: Palace Burner: The Selected Poetry of Sarah Piatt; Whitfield, James M.: The Works of James M. Whitfield: "America" and Other Writings; Whitman, W. : Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition

Other Readings and Media

Photocopied reader; PDFs on bCourses site


This course will have three overlapping goals. It will provide a survey of major figures in nineteenth-century U. S. poetry. It will take stock of recent work in “Historical Poetics” by critics who have sought an alternative to what they view as a narrow tradition focused through a retrospective modernist lens. Such critics aim to recover nineteenth-century conceptions of poetry and a wider range of poets, genres, and contexts. And the course will consider the relationships between traditional and emerging literary maps of the field. Poets likely to be covered include Bryant, Dickinson, Emerson, Longfellow, Melville, Poe, and Whitman and also Phoebe Cary, Stephen Crane, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frances Harper, George Moses Horton, Sarah Piatt, Lydia Sigourney, and James M. Whitfield. Some of the readings will be available in paper copies (ordered as books or compiled in a photocopied reader); others, given their status as out-of-print, not-in-print since the nineteenth century, or rare, will be available in electronic form. Course requirements will include two 8-10 page papers (linked or separate) and oral presentations. For at least one of these assignments, participants in the course will be asked to do primary research in the poetic cultures of the nineteenth-century U. S.

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