English 190

Research Seminar: Cultures of 19th-Century U.S. Poetry


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
12 Fall 2010 Beam, Dorri
Beam, Dorri
TTh 12:30-2 note new room: 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

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Description

Poetry enjoyed extraordinary popularity and pervasiveness in 19th-century America. In this class, we will encounter the variety of poetic output from the period while also taking the opportunity to study the social life of a literary form by thinking about how a literary form moves in, is shaped by, and shapes its cultural context. What made poetry such a viable cultural currency in this time and place? What kinds of communities were forged through the circulation of poetry? How did poetry function as a form through which to shape and transmit responses to slavery, war, the death of child, or uncodifiable sexual desires? How does repetition, rhythm, sound, or voice aid poetic transmission? What were the poetic cultures that poets like Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson entered and negotiated, each in their own way?

Students will be engaged in studying the material textuality of poetry by examining how poems appeared and circulated in manuscripts and in their print contexts in books, newspapers, and magazines. We will also explore such cultural scenes of poetic exchange as schoolroom recitation, political occasions, literary salons, and personal letters. Relying on the web as well as anthologies, the course will examine a variety of poetry, ranging from nature poetry, to African-American poetry, to poetry of the Civil War, as well as attending to the rich archives of specific authors. Engaged seminar participation, class presentations, and a final paper are required.

This section of English 190 is now open to Letters and Science juniors and seniors with majors other than English.

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

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