BERKELEY ENGLISH SUMMER 2021

English 190

Research Seminar: Victorian Versification


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Spring 2020 Hanson, Kristin
TTh 3:30-5 Note new location: 204 Dwinelle

Book List

Houghton, Walter E. and G. Robert Stange: Victorian Poetry and Poetics

Description

The Victorian period (1837-1901) is striking for its social, political, economic, technical and scientific developments that seem at once old-fashioned and recognizably modern.  Its formal poetic achievements are no exception to this characterization.  From Tennyson's renowned mastery through Browning's dramatic innovations and the "dangerously sensual" practice of Swinburne to Hopkins' influential invention of "Sprung Rhythm", the period saw tradition and experiment in constant interaction.  It saw interest in dialect poetry, discovery of the early English poetic heritage, reconstruction of Classical meters in English, recognition of women poets, encounters with verse traditions of other languages throughout the world, parodies of verse forms, and a flourishing if eccentric subculture of commentary on versification, most entertainingly in the works of George Saintsbury.  This course will offer an introduction to meter and other formal elements of versification as developed by Victorian poets, and an opportunity to connect these to broader interests of these poets.  As a research seminar, the goal will be to support students in researching and writing a long (20 pp.) paper that explores such a connection in the work of a Victorian (or related) poet of their own choosing.

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