English 190

Research Seminar: Poetry and the Virtues


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2020 Picciotto, Joanna M
MW 5-6:30 233 Dwinelle

Description

Arguments for the moral value of literary study often focus on how narrative forms like the novel offer opportunities for the cultivation of empathy. But in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, literary style itself was treated as an extension of social conduct. The close study of style through the reading and writing of verse was part of a student’s habituation into the virtues. We will experiment with this approach to the study of poetry and test some of its assumptions—for example, the assumption that to become acquainted with a poet’s style is to become conversant with a way of being in the world. We’ll focus on poetry from the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, primarily by Andrew Marvell and John Ashbery. There will also be some brief readings in moral philosophy and aesthetics. 

We will use a course reader.

Writing requirements: Short biweekly writing (200 words) and a final paper (10-15 pages).

If you take this course to meet the pre-1800 requirement, your final paper should focus on seventeenth-century material.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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