Winter 2015

Winter 2015 Courses



ENGL 17512 | Lyric Events and Objects

Wilkinson, John

Western poetry, at least since Ovid, has set into complex play a yearning for the repeatable evanescence of the aesthetic encounter and for the permanence of the monument, often mediated through the body in youth, in ecstasy, in aging and in anticipation of death. This course will look at different versions of this dialectic, and may include works by Ovid, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Góngora, Herrick, Gray, Blake, Shelley, Baudelaire, Trakl, Berryman, Hart Crane, Oppen, Rukeyser, Frank O'Hara, W.S. Graham and Ian Hamilton Finlay. Members of the class will be invited to propose works for discussion, and we may also consider a few related paintings.


ENGL 23801 | 18th-Century British Poetry

Hansen, Michael

This survey will focus on major forms and genres in eighteenth-century poetry: ode, elegy, epitaph, verse epistle, the night piece and graveyard poem, and the sonnet. We will also devote generous time to satirical renditions of these forms and genres. Poets include (among others) Anne Finch, Matthew Prior, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Mary Montagu, Joseph Warton, Thomas Chatterton, Thomas Gray, and Charlotte Smith.


Romance Languages and Literatures

ITAL 29000/39000 | La poesia del Novecento: Testi e contesti

Rebecca West

This course is a survey of the major poets, schools, and trends from the “fathers” of modern lyric (Pascoli, D’Annunzio) through the “isms” of the historical avantgardes (futurism, crepuscularism), to the hermetic poets, the dominant voices (Montale, Ungaretti), and poets of today’s Italy. Women poets and dialect poets will also be included. The relation between texts and historical, ideological contexts will be studied, as well as how poetry, historically and currently, interacts with narrative, philosophy, and social issues. Today's critical and theoretical approaches to the study of modern poetry will be taken into account, but the emphasis throughout will be on close readings and analyses of selected poems. Taught in Italian.



CLCV 21415 | The Poems of Ovid. 

David Wray

Publius Ovidius Naso was the most prolific of the major Latin poets, and by far the most influential classical author from the Middle Ages to early modernity.  This course includes reading and discussion of all his surviving poetry: the Heroides, verse letters of mythological heroines to their lovers; the Amores, a collection of love elegies; the Art of Love, an erotodidactic manual on sex and love for women as well as men; the Cures for Love; the Metamorphoses, his masterpiece, an episodic and encylopedic epic of mythology and history; the Fasti, a poetic calendar of Roman rituals and festivals; the Tristia and Letters from the Black Sea, exile poems written after Ovid's banishment to Tomis; the Ibis, a poem of invective revenge; and short poems on women's cosmetics and fishing.  Discussion, while geared toward the interests of participants, will range over topics including: wit, affect, and embodiment; narrative and character; form and genre; tradition and innovation; classicism and excess; intimacy and cruelty; interspecies metamorphosis and the inner lives of gods, humans, animals, and plants; and poetic ambition, power, and self-fashioning.  No prerequisites.  No knowledge of Latin required.  All readings will be in English translation, but separate meetings can be arranged for those wishing to read Ovid in Latin. 


CLCV 27109 | Forms of Lyric from Classical Antiquity to Postmodernism.

Boris Maslov

Moving beyond the modern perception of lyric as an expression of the poet’s subjectivity, this course confronts the remarkable longevity of varieties of lyric that have remained in use over centuries and millennia, such as the hymn, ode, pastoral, elegy, epistle, and epigram. What kept these classical genres alive for so long and, conversely, what made them serviceable to poets working in very different cultural milieus? In an effort to develop a theory and a history of Western lyric genres, we will sample from the work of many poets, including Sappho, Horace, Ovid, Hölderlin, Pushkin, Whitman, Mandel’shtam, Brodsky, and Milosz. All readings in English. 


Slavic Languages and Literatures

SLAV 22303 | Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics. 

Boris Maslov

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended.