English 246H

Victorian Period

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2020 Puckett, Kent
F 9-12 301 Wheeler


In this course we will approach the literature and culture of the Victorian period through its poetry and poetics. We'll read a lot of both in order to do three related things. First, we'll consider the idea of the literary as it was embodied in the figure of the poem in nineteenth-century British culture and society. What, we'll ask alongside Victorian poets and critics, is poetry? Who and what is it for? Why bother writing it instead of something else (a novel, a speech, an essay, a song)? Second, we'll work to understand how a self-consciousness about history, subjectivity, and the relation between the two that characterizes much of this poetry finds various forms in lyrics, ballads, dramatic monologues, verse novels, etc. Third, we'll take our reading of specifically Victorian poetry and poetics as an opportunity to think about more recent developments in poetics; how has thinking about poetry changed because of, in spite of, or very decidedly against the Victorians and their poetry? To what degree has an idea (whether right or wrong) about the Victorians shaped how we read and value poetry today?

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