45C Lectures [C. Altieri]


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English 127 Modern Poetry. Instructor: Charles Altieri. $27 Wheeler: OH Tu2-3:30 Wed 11-12-30

  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. Introduction—Modernist visual art as exemplar of art’s distinctive thinking.

Jan 20. The residues of the old realism—Hardy’s 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 25. Hopkins and alternatives to the ideals of art as representation.

Jan 27. W.C Williams and a painterly view of nature—Norton 286-302,954-59

Week 3: Feb 1. Begin Yeats—can the spirit of romance be kept alive?—[pages later]

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.

Mar 3. Gertrude Stein. NAMP: 178-186, reader 81-84.

 Week 8. 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 reader

Mar 17. “ “ : 487-9

 Week 10. Mar 29. Mina Loy: “ : 269-282 plus back

Mar 31. Marianne Moore. “ : 433-446 plus back

 Week 11. Apr 5. “ “ : 446-454

Apr 7. McKay, Cullen, and Hughes. NAMP: 500-503; 727-731; 687-691

Week 12 Apr 12. Hughes, 692-704, plus back

Apr 14. Wallace Stevens. NAMP: 237-251

 Week 13. Apr 19. “ “ “ : 251-255, 258-261 plus 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