English 127 Modern Poetry. Instructor:
Charles Altieri. $27 Wheeler: OH Tu2-3:30
This course will be a survey of efforts to develop distinctively
modernist ways Anglo-American poets offered to the pressures of
modernization: how could poetry earn the respect of those brought
up in secular Enlightenment culture and still not submit to the
empiricism, faith in instrumental reason, and belief in progress
that seemed the dominant mentality in that culture. Analogously, how could art prove something more
than a vehicle for refined pleasure? How could art present modes of thinking
that could at least hold their own with that instrumental
reason so that art could claim to provide new and important versions
of social and personal agency? How could art transform how minds related to
history, to nature, and to community while presenting its claims
without the aid of religion or mysticism?
Clearly these questions are worth examining you
on so you can track your own progress.
There will be probably be
two five-page papers, a mid-term and a final. Also you will be asked to memorize at least12 lines a week
and this will be tested. A
second inadequate performance will drop a half-point from your
grade and each subsequent one will incur a similar price.
Week 1: Jan 18. IntroductionModernist
visual art as exemplar of arts distinctive thinking.
Jan 20. The residues of the old realismHardys
poems. When a poet is listed here the class will be expected to
read all selections from the Norton Anthology of Modernist poetry, 3rd edition (the
right edition is crucial), unless noted. Also check the back of this volume
because any statements on poetics in this book by the poets whom
we are covering will be considered part of the assigned reading.
Week 2: Jan
and alternatives to the ideals of art as representation.
Jan 27. W.C
Williams and a painterly view of natureNorton 286-302,954-59
Week 3: Feb
1. Begin Yeatscan the spirit of romance be kept alive?[pages
Week 6: Feb. 22. Ezra Pound. NAMP: 349-353 and in reader 19-32 (and essays in back).
Feb. 24. . : 354-66 and in reader 33-40, 41-62
Week 7. Mar 1. . : 368-87.
3. Gertrude Stein. NAMP:
178-186, reader 81-84.
Mar 8. Mid term
Mar 10. Eliot. NAMP: 463-69 and reader, 63-80,
and back of book
Week 9: Mar 15. : 470-486, plus
Mar 17. : 487-9
Mar 29. Mina Loy: : 269-282
Mar 31. Marianne
Moore. : 433-446 plus back
Week 11. Apr 5. : 446-454
Apr 7. McKay, Cullen, and Hughes. NAMP: 500-503;
12 Apr 12. Hughes,
692-704, plus back
Apr 14. Wallace Stevens. NAMP: 237-251
Week 13. Apr 19. : 251-255,
back of book
Apr 21. : 261-268
plus reader, 86-97
Week 14. Apr 26. W.H. Auden. : 787-97
Apr 28. : 798-816 plus reader plus back