By far the most valuable preparation for this module is to read the longer works over the vacation: Lycidas, A Masque at Ludlow (Comus), Areopagitica, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regain’d, Samson Agonistes, and one of the recent biographies. See below for some suggestions: those by Beer, Brown and Forsyth are relatively quick reads. (A full reading list of recommended secondary reading will be made available once we have established the full programme in Michaelmas Term 2013.)
Another helpful exercise would be to familiarise yourself with the main contours of Milton’s life. There are a number of early ‘Lives’ compiled by those who knew him or spoke to those who did, notably those by his nephew and pupil Edward Philips, the anonymous biography likely to have been written by his pupil, Cyriack Skinner, and the notes towards a biography compiled by John Aubrey. The ‘Life’ by Anthony à Wood (from the Annals of Oxford University) is derived from the notes by Aubrey, but is still interesting for the ‘spin’ put on the material at times, showing the royalist sympathies of the biographer. (These Early Lives are all included in the Riverside Milton.) Also worth reading for his strongly pronounced views on Milton and his poetry, is Samuel Johnson’s ‘Life of Milton’ in his Lives of the Poets.
The Early Lives of Milton. Ed. Helen Darbishire. London: Constable. 1932. 826.2 MIL/DAR
The Riverside Milton. Ed. Roy Flannagan. Boston. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 1998. 826.2
Lives of the Poets. Samuel Johnson. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 2006. 827.2JOH
There are a number of recent biographies of Milton:
Milton: a biography. Walter Riley Parker. Ed Gordon Campbell. 2nd ed. Rev. version. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1996. 826.2 MIL/PAR The standard biography recently revised and edited by Gordon Campbell.
The Life of John Milton: a critical biography. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing. 2001. 826.2 This is a richly documented, densely packed and scholarly work (available in paperback). Very useful for reference.
John Milton: life, work and thought. Gordon Campbell and Thomas Corns. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2010. Richly detailed and readable biography.
Also available are the following lively and accessible biographies:
Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot. Anna Beer. Bloomsbury, 2008.
John Milton: a literary life. Cedric Brown. Basingstoke: Macmillan. 1995. 826.2 MIL/BRO
John Milton: a biography. Neil Forsyth. Oxford: Lion. 2008. 826.2 MIL/FOR
A reading list of relevant secondary literature will be given out at each seminar and posted on DUO. Meanwhile here are a couple of useful starting points:
The Cambridge Companion to Milton. Ed Dennis Danielson. Cambridge: CUP, 1999.
826.2 MIL/CAM (NB You can browse this volume online by following the library link)
The Oxford Handbook of Milton. Ed. Nicholas McDowell and Nigel Smith. Oxford: OUP. 2011 (on order for the main library)
Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry: A Student’s Guide. Isabel Rivers. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 1992.This is an extremely accessible guide that supplies useful source material together with a helpful discussion of relevant contexts. (It is useful background reading for Renaissance and Shakespeare too.)
A valuable resource of current criticism on Milton’s works is provided by the two journals devoted to Milton studies:
Milton Quarterly and Milton Studies.
Both are available to browse online through the library website by following the link to E-journals.
You might also find the following websites of interest:
A collection of 24 lively lectures by Professor John Rogers on Milton as part of the Open Yale Courses.
The Milton-L Home Page is devoted to the life, literature and times of the poet John Milton. On this site you will find links to web resources, information about upcoming events, and information on recently published works of interest to Milton scholars and students.
Milton’s works and selected criticism.
A web resource for studying Paradise Lost in particular but provides some useful contexts for Milton’s work as a whole.
This is an outline of the seminar programme; I would like to leave open the possibility of some minor changes depending on the interests of the group etc. In each case participants will be expected not simply to have read the set text(s), but to be ready to discuss them in detail. (Supplementary handouts for Seminars 1, 5 and 8 will be supplied beforehand.) After the first session, the running-order will be roughly chronological:
1 Milton and the Art of Authorial Self-representation:
Elegia prima (Elegy 1’), Elegia sexta (‘Elegy 6’), Ad Patrem (‘To his Father’), ‘How Soon Hath Time’, Mansus; selected passages from the Prolusions, Reason of Church–government, Defensio Secunda (Second Defence), Paradise Lost
2 Early English poems: ‘Nativity Ode’, ‘On Shakespeare’, ‘At a Vacation Exercise’, ‘L’Allegro’ and ‘Il Penseroso’
3 Pastoral Elegies: Lycidas (1638) and Epitaphium Damonis (1639-40)
4 Milton and the Masque Tradition: A Masque at Ludlow (Comus, 1637)
5 Milton and Education: Selected passages from the Prolusions, Of Education (1644)
6 Milton and Marriage: Selected passages from the divorce tracts (1644-45) and Paradise Lost (1667);
7 Milton and Civil Liberty: Areopagitica (1644)
8 Milton and the Classical and Christian Tradition: Paradise Lost (1667); selected passages from De doctrina Christiana (1655?)
9 The Genre of the Brief Epic: Paradise Regain’d (1671)
10 A Greek Tragedy on a Biblical Theme: Samson Agonistes (1671)
Keats and Shelley: Special Topic
(single asterisk indicates that the book has been recommended as Essential Reading in the University Library; double asterisks indicate that the book has been recommended as Recommended Reading).
We shall study Shelley and Keats, concentrating on the following:
Shelley: Alastor, Julian and Maddalo, Prometheus Unbound, The Mask of Anarchy, some lyrics including ‘Hymn to Intellectual Beauty’, ‘Mont Blanc’, and ‘Ode to the West Wind’, ‘Ozymandias’, ‘The Two Spirits – An Allegory’, ‘England in 1919’, and ‘To a Skylark’, Adonais, The Triumph of Life. You should also read A Defence of Poetry and ‘On Love’.
Keats: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the Odes, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes and ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’. You should also read a good sample of the letters (see recommended editions below):
Editions: it is recommended that you buy:
EITHER Shelley’s Poetry and Prose, edited by Donald H Reiman and Neil Fraistat, Norton Critical Edition (2002).* [This is the second edition of the Norton Critical Edition of Shelley; the first edition, edited by Reiman and Powers, was published in 1977 and is also on short loan (*).] It contains a valuable amount of criticism, as well as good annotation and headnotes.
OR Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Major Works, edited by Zachary Leader and Michael O’Neill (Oxford, 2009 reissue). Contains a wide range of poems and prose, an introduction and extensive notes.
EITHER John Keats, edited by Elizabeth Cook (Oxford Authors series, 1990; recently reissued (2001) in OUP’s Major Works series). *
OR John Keats: The Complete Poems, edited by John Barnard (Penguin, 3rd edition, 1988)*.
Both these editions of Keats contain useful selections of the letters, but see also:
John Keats: Selected Letters, edited by Robert Gittings, with a new introduction and notes by Jon Mee (Oxford, 2002).*
Please note that vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Longman edition of Shelley’s poems, ed. Matthews and Everest, have valuable editorial notes. The same is true of vols 1, 2 and 3 of the Complete Poetry, ed. Reiman and others (Johns Hopkins UP).
Preliminary Reading (before the course begins in October):
The best preparation is to read and re-read the poems above.
You should also have a general sense of the Romantic period in English Poetry (see J R Watson, English Poetry of the Romantic Period 1789-1830, 2nd edn. (1992)) and of the lives and work of the two poets, by reading a biography or a ‘literary life’ or relevant sections of anthologies taken from this list:
K N Cameron, Shelley: The Golden Years (1974) *
R Holmes, Shelley: The Pursuit (1974)
M O’Neill, Percy Bysshe Shelley: A Literary Life (1989) *
W J Bate, John Keats (1963) *
R Gittings, John Keats (1968)
J Barnard, John Keats (1987) *
A Motion, Keats (1997) **
D Wu (ed), Romanticism: An Anthology, 3rd edn (2006).
M O’Neill and C Mahoney (eds), Romanticism: An Annotated Anthology (2008) **
R S White, John Keats: A Literary Life (2010) **
N Roe, John Keats: A New Life (2012) **
I am happy to offer specific advice on books and articles throughout the course. The list which follows is a selection of the many critical works available.
H Bloom, Shelley’s Mythmaking (1959; 1969 rpt.)
E Wasserman, Shelley: A Critical Reading (1971) *
J Chernaik, The Lyrics of Shelley (1972)**
T Webb, Shelley: A Voice Not Understood (1977) **
P M S Dawson, The Unacknowledged Legislator: Shelley and Politics (1980) **
R Cronin, Shelley’s Poetic Thoughts (1981) **
A Leighton, Shelley and the Sublime (1984) **
S Sperry, Shelley’s Major Verse (1988) **
T Clark, Embodying Revolution: The Figure of the Poet in Shelley (1989) **
T Clark and J Hogle (eds.), Evaluating Shelley (1996)
M O’Neill, The Human Mind’s Imagining: Conflict and Achievement in Shelley’s Poetry (1989) *
M O’Neill (ed.), Shelley, Longman Critical Reader (1993) *
S Haines, Shelley’s Poetry: The Divided Self (1997) **
P Hamilton, Percy Bysshe Shelley (2000)**
E Wasserman, The Finer Tone: Keats’s Major Poems (1953) **
I Jack, Keats and the Mirror of Art (1967)
J Jones, John Keats’s Dream of Truth (1969)
M Dickstein, Keats and his Poetry (1971)
S Sperry, Keats the Poet (1973) *
C Ricks, Keats and Embarrassment (1974)
D Simpson, Irony and Authority in Romantic Poetry (1979)**
H Vendler, The Odes of John Keats (1983) *
M Levinson, Keats’s Life of Allegory (1988) **
A Bennett, Keats, Narrative and Audience: The Posthumous Life of Writing (1994) **
N Roe (ed.), Keats and History (1995) **
N Roe, John Keats and the Culture of Dissent (1997) **
M O’Neill (ed.) Keats: Bicentenary Readings (1997) **
M O’Neill, Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem (1997) * (chapters on Shelley and Keats)
J O’Rourke, Keats’s Odes and Contemporary Criticism (1998)
A Christensen and others (eds.), The Challenge of Keats (2000)
T McFarland, The Masks of Keats: The Endeavour of a Poet (2000)
Susan J. Wolfson, Formal Charges (1997) (chapters on Shelley and Keats)
Susan J. Wolfson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Keats (2001) *
C Duffy, Shelley and the Revolutionary Sublime (2005)
M Sandy, Poetics of Self and Form in Keats and Shelley : Nietzschean Subjectivity and Genre (2005)
S Wootton, Consuming Keats (2006) **
M O’Neill, The All-Sustaining Air: Romantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry since 1900 (2007) ** [See under Keats and Shelley in index.]
A Weinberg and T Webb (eds.), The Unfamiliar Shelley (2009).
N M Goslee, Shelley’s Visual Imagination (2011)
M O’Neill and T. Howe, with assistance of M. Callaghan (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley (2013)
R Wilson, Shelley and the Apprehension of Life (2013) **
M Sandy, Romanticism, Memory and Mourning (2013) ** (Chapters on Shelley and Keats)
Facsimile Editions of Manuscripts
See relevant volumes in Manuscripts of the Younger Romantics, gen. ed. Donald H. Reiman, 1985-97), 9 volumes devoted to Shelley, 6 vols to Keats, and see The Bodleian Shelley Manuscripts, 22 vols. so far, gen. ed. Donald H. Reiman (1986-1997). See also Shelley and his Circle, 8 vols so far, ed. K. N. Cameron and Donald H. Reiman (1961-1986) and J. Stillinger (ed.), John Keats: Poetry Manuscripts at Harvard, 1990. Many of these editions have valuable critical and biographical material.
Keats - Shelley Review
Keats - Shelley Journal
Studies in Romanticism
Romanticism on the Net
Meetings and Topics
The first five seminars will focus on poems by Shelley, the second five on poems by Keats. [- We list below the primary texts you should read carefully before each session and some suggestions about critical reading. Please remain in the groups to which you will have been assigned by the start of
1. Primary Texts: Shorter Lyrics: ‘Ode to the West Wind’, ‘The Two Spirits – An Allegory’, ‘To a Skylark’, ‘Stanzas Written in Dejection, Near Naples – December 1818’, ‘England 1819’.
Criticism: Keach, Chernaik, Everest (ed.), O’Neill (in Norton 2), Sandy.
2. Primary Texts (i): Alastor
Criticism: essay by Evan K. Gibson in Norton 1, Michael Ferber in Norton 2, Stuart Sperry, Shelley's Major Verse, Timothy Clark's and Tilottama Rajan's essays in Shelley, Longman Critical Reader, Earl Wasserman, Shelley: A Critical Reading, Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries, O'Neill (Human Mind's Imaginings).
Primary Texts (ii): 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty', 'Mont Blanc' (see also texts of these poems in the Scrope Davies Notebook; texts are printed in the Matthews and Everest edition, vol 1, Webb, 1995, Leader and O’Neill, and Reiman (ed.) Johns Hopkins edition, vol. 3).
Criticism: For poems of 1816, Angela Leighton, Shelley and the Sublime, Frances Ferguson's essay in Longman Critical Reader, William Keach, Shelley's Style (excerpted in Norton 2), Judith Chernaik, The Lyrics of Shelley, Harold Bloom, Shelley's Mythmaking, Timothy Webb, Shelley: A Voice Not Understood.
3. Primary Texts: Prometheus Unbound (mainly Acts 1 and II)
Criticism: Essays by Hogle and Armstrong in Longman Critical Reader and by Webb in Norton 2, Angela Leighton, Shelley and the Sublime, Earl Wasserman, Shelley: A Critical Reading, Stuart Sperry, Shelley's Major Verse, O'Neill in Wu (ed.) A Companion to Romanticism (Blackwell, 1998).
4. Julian and Maddalo and The Mask of Anarchy.
Criticism: For J and M, see Wasserman, Shelley: A Critical Reader, Newey's and O'Neill's essays in DUJ Special Issue, and Cronin's Shelley's Poetic Thoughts. For The Mask, see Behrendt's essay in Longman Critical Reader, Cronin's Shelley's Poetic Thoughts, and Wolfson’s essay in Norton 2..
5. Primary Texts: Adonais and The Triumph of Life. Also re-read A Defence of Poetry for this session.
Criticism: For Adonais, see Leighton, and essays by Sacks in Longman Critical Reader and Scrivener in Norton 2, and by O’Neill (in Wordsworth Circle 35:2 (2004), 50-7, and Everest, in Essays in Criticism 57:3 92007), 237-64. For The Triumph of Life, see Sperry, O'Neill, The Human Mind's Imaginings, and essays by Hillis Miller and Rajan in Longman Critical Reader and Roberts in Norton 2.
Summary of Aims of Shelley Sessions
* in seminar 1 we shall explore some of Shelley’s shorter poems to explore characteristic tones, styles, and themes;
* we shall look in seminar 2 at a poem (Alastor) in blank verse which illustrates Shelley's fascination with the role of the poet, the collision of perspectives, and the theme of quest, and two poems (the 'Hymn' and 'Mont Blanc') which show his individual handling of the lyric as a means of exploring 'the human mind's imaginings'.
* we then consider the first two acts of the lyrical drama, Prometheus Unbound, in which Shelley seeks to create a poetic structure which will embody what in the Preface to the poem he calls 'beautiful idealisms of moral excellence';
* in the fourth session we shall look at two medium-length poems. One (Julian and Maddalo) reveals Shelley's capacity to dramatise different points of view; this poem makes a fascinating contrast with Prometheus Unbound, written about the same time. The other (The Mask of Anarchy), written in response to Peterloo but never published in Shelley's lifetime, is a sophisticated mix of political satire and visionary ballad, and illustrates Shelley's desire to reach an audience (or different audiences).
* in the last session we shall look at two of Shelley's greatest poems, Adonais, the elegy for Keats, and The Triumph of Life, left unfinished at Shelley's death. Some critics have detected a deepening pessimism in the work of Shelley's final years; we shall consider whether this is the case.
6. ‘The Eve of St Agnes' and 'La Belle Dame sans Merci'
Criticism: (on The Eve); Bate, Ricks, Barnard, Bennett; (on 'La Belle Dame'): Barnard and Bate.
7. Primary Texts: 'Ode to a Nightingale', 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', ‘Ode on Indolence’
8. 'To Autumn', 'Ode on Melancholy' and 'Ode to Psyche'. (Also ‘Bright Star!’).
Criticism (for both Odes seminars): Sperry, Bate, Barnard, Vendler, Jones
9. Primary Text: Lamia
Criticism: Sperry, Jones and Levinson
10. Primary Texts: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion
Criticism: Vendler, Sperry, Jones, and Sandy; see also Newey's essay in The Yearbook of English Studies (1989) and O’Neill in Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem.
Summary of Keats Sessions
* In the first Keats seminar we shall look at two poems that deal, among other things, with the interaction and clash between dream and reality in his work.
* in the second and third seminars we shall look in detail at arguably his greatest achievement, his Odes, analysing their themes and modes of poetic operation.
* in the fourth seminar we shall focus on Lamia, and discuss its affinities with and differences from Keats’s other work.
* in the final seminar we shall assess the meaning and success of Keats’s epic project in his two Hyperion poems.
The texts chosen represent some of Shelley's and Keats’s most impressive achievements. What we hope you will get out of the course is:
(i) by virtue of close reading and discussion, a deeper sense of the poets’ artistry and value;
(ii) an awareness of their formal and thematic variety as a poet;
(iii) a greater awareness of the possible ways of reading the two poets; the course will not prescribe any one way of reading them, but it will ask that you read the poems attentively and test theories and ideas against the imaginative experience of reading the poetry.
The Literature of Emotion: Preliminary Reading List
Robert Lovelace preparing to abduct Clarissa Harlowe (Francis Hayman, 1753)
We’ll be concentrating on six novels for this module. There will be other primary reading of a briefer nature, which will be provided in photocopied form as and when needed during the year. The prices for the recommended editions that follow are the recommended retail price for a new print copy: there are often cheaper options available, especially if you buy second-hand. (Note that Kindle editions advertised are not necessarily the same as the recommended print editions and that if you buy Kindle editions you may have to borrow print editions for referencing purposes.)
Samuel Richardson, Clarissa (1747-8)
Please buy the Penguin edition, edited by Angus Ross (£25), if at all possible. There are other editions, some of which may be cheaper, but the Ross is, I think, the best. Also, Ross reproduces the text of the first edition, which differs in places from later editions in ways significant enough to make working from different editions in seminars potentially somewhat confusing. (Richardson was a great reviser of his own work.) In any case, with such a big book, it is helpful if we’re all working with the same page numbers!
Frances Sheridan, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761)
2011 Broadview edition (£18.95). This is the best edition currently in print and includes some appendices (conduct literature for women, contemporary reviews of the novel) as well as introduction, chronology, further reading, and so on. The 1995 Oxford World’s Classics edition is still available second-hand and is also a good choice.
Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (1768)
2008 Oxford World’s Classics edition (£6.99) or 2001 Penguin edition (£5.99). The World’s Classics edition has the advantage of also including a number of other brief texts by Sterne, but the Penguin edition has just as good an introduction and notes.
Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (1771)
2001 Oxford World’s Classics edition (reissued 2009; £5.99).
Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Oxford World’s Classics (£6.99) or Penguin Classics (£3.99) – the World’s Classics edition has a couple of useful appendices, and the introduction to the Penguin edition (by Tony Tanner) can also be found in Tanner’s book on Austen (in the library).
Frances Burney, The Wanderer (1814)
The Oxford World’s Classics edition of this has, unfortunately, recently gone out of print. It can be found second-hand quite reasonably (see, for example, www.alibris.co.uk – on the day of writing there are seven copies available at under £10). If you can get hold a copy of this edition, this is the best one to have. However, failing that, any edition will do. The Pandora edition from 1988 (published by Thorsons in the US) is also sometimes available second-hand (www.abebooks.co.uk currently has two offered at the very reasonable prices of £1.25 and £2.54). Just be careful with editions split into five volumes (as was the original novel), as you could find that you’ve only purchased one volume.
I’ve recommended what I think are the best editions, but if money is tight, get what you can. The Ross Clarissa is the most important. It’s always worth looking for second-hand copies online.
* * *
Such Simplicity, such Manners, such deep Penetration into Nature; such Power to raise and alarm the Passions, few Writers, either ancient or modern, have been possessed of. My Affections are so strongly engaged, and my Fears are so raised, by what I have already read, that I cannot express my Eagerness to see the rest.
Henry Fielding, having read the first volumes of Clarissa, in The Jacobite’s Journal, No. 2 (2 January 1748)
Richardson is certainly the beginning of the ‘psychological’ novel, at least in English. He is primarily interested in consciousness, he probes deeper into the recesses of the mind than any other eighteenth-century writer, and this leads to the first really honest and revealing exposure of the ‘unconscious’ since Shakespeare.
Mark Kinkead-Weekes, Samuel Richardson: Dramatic Novelist (London: Methuen, 1973)
Reading Clarissa is probably the biggest challenge you’ll encounter on this module. Its length can be intimidating, but it is a fascinating and influential text, admired by figures as diverse as Diderot, Austen and Balzac. As you can see, it was even praised highly by Richardson’s contemporary and erstwhile critic Henry Fielding. Once you’ve finished it, you’ll be able to feel a quite justifiable sense of achievement, and you’ll join a select band of people who have actually read the novel rather than simply heard of it or talked about it! It is the earliest of the novels on the module, and the first text we’ll tackle, and I urge you strongly to read it during the summer vacation. If you arrive in October having already read it, the reading for the module during the year should be manageable: the Sterne and the Mackenzie are both very short and neither the Sheridan nor the Austen is over-long. The Burney is long and for that you’ll need to think (and read) ahead. If you leave Clarissa until you come back to Durham, you’ll almost certainly find your workload unnecessarily burdensome, not to mention possibly not getting the most from early seminars. The BBC dramatised Clarissa in 1991, with Sean Bean and Saskia Wickham, and the DVD is available to borrow from the Department. Although watching it is a very different experience from reading the novel, the adaptation makes an interesting comparison.
If you’d like some suggested secondary reading to look at over the summer, Janet Todd’s Sensibility: An Introduction (1986) would be a good place to start. Also extremely useful are G. J. Barker-Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (1991) and, for broader but important historical context, Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727-1783 (1989), Roy Porter, Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (2000) and/or Langford, Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction (2000). On Clarissa specifically, you could look at Terry Eagleton, The Rape of Clarissa (1982), Thomas Keymer’s Richardson’s ‘Clarissa’ and the Eighteenth-Century Reader (1992) or Bonnie Latimer’s Making Gender, Culture, and the Self in the Fiction of Samuel Richardson (2012). These are all books to borrow from a library rather than purchase. If you don’t have access to a university library in the vacation, don’t worry. The most important thing is to read Clarissa; if you finish it with time to spare, you can always move on to another of the primary texts.
I look forward to meeting you in October. In the meantime, have a good vacation, and enjoy your reading!
Gillian Skinner, June 2014
Poetry and Poetics, 2014-2015
Module Convenors: Dr Paul Batchelor and Dr Vidyan Ravinthiran
The course will focus on the theory and practice of poetry. Each seminar will be based on the close-reading of a range of poetic texts in different forms, and will place this work in the context of critical prose written by poets. Close examination of poetry will help students to understand the relation between reading and writing, theory and practice. Each seminar will conclude with a writing exercise, based on the forms and modes studied. It is envisaged that the course will be assessed by one 3,000-word essay, and one portfolio of creative writing accompanied by a 1,000-word self-critique. The essay will constitute 60% of the student’s final mark, and the portfolio will constitute 40%.
The syllabus will be drawn primarily from the following three books:
Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, New York: Norton, 2001.
W. N. Herbert and Matthew Hollis (eds.), Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry, Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2000.
An anthology of prose from Plato to Gerard Manley Hopkins, provided by the Department of English Studies.
All those taking this course will be expected to have their own copies of these three books. During the vacation you should read widely in these collections.
Seminars in Michaelmas term will be concerned with Part I of the Strand and Boland anthology, ‘Verse Forms’ (blank verse, lyric forms, the sonnet, stanzaic forms, etc). Seminars in Epiphany term will be concerned with Part III, ‘Shaping Forms’ and Part IV, ‘Open Forms’ (Imagist poems, dramatic monologues, the ode, free verse, etc).
A developed ear for the rhythms and music of poetry is essential to all the above. You can develop your ear by reading poetry aloud (this applies especially to poetry written in traditional forms), or by listening to good readers read. The University Library has a good CD collection of modern and contemporary poets reading their work, and of work by earlier poets read by actors. To find these in the library catalogue, use the limiting function ‘sound recordings’ (by replacing ‘full catalogue’ in a keywords search).
There are also many online sources of modern and contemporary poetry reading their own work. See, for example:
On form and rhythm you may also find helpful one of the following short books (both by poets, the second available in multiple copies in the library):
G. S Fraser, Metre, Rhythm and Free Verse, The Critical Idiom (London: Methuen, 1970)
Philip Hobsbaum, Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form, The New Critical Idiom, (London: Routledge, 1996).
Poetry and Poetics: Library Reading List
John Redmond, How to Read a Poem, Wiley-Blackwell: 2005.
Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town, Norton: 1979
Poets on Poetry
W. H. Auden, The Dyer’s Hand, and Other Essays, London: Faber, 1975.
---, Forewords and Afterwords, selected by Edward Mendelson, London: Faber, 1973.
John Berryman, The Freedom of the Poet, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976.
Elizabeth Bishop, Collected Prose, ed. Robert Giroux, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984.
T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays, 3rd edition, London: Faber, 1951.
---, Selected Prose, ed. Frank Kermode, London: Faber, 1975.
Annie Finch, The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 2004.
Louise Glück, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry, Manchester: Ecco Press, 1999.
Seamus Heaney, Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978, London: Faber, 1980.
---, The Government of the Tongue: Selected Prose 1978-1987, London: Faber, 1988.
---, The Redress of Poetry: Oxford Lectures, London: Faber, 1995.
---, Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture, Loughcrew: Gallery Press, 1996.
Geoffrey Hill, Collected Critical Writings, ed. Kenneth Haynes, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Randall Jarrell, Poetry and the Age, London: Faber, 1973.
Larkin, Philip, Further Requirements: Interviews, Broadcasts, Statements and Book Reviews, 1952-85, ed. Anthony Thwaite, London: Faber, 2001.
Denise Levertov, New and Selected Essays, New York: New Directions, 1992.
Robert Lowell, Collected Prose, London: Faber, 1987.
Marianne Moore, The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, ed. Patricia Willis, New York: Viking, 1986.
Paul Muldoon, The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures on Poetry, London: Faber, 2006.
Pound, ABC of Reading, London: Faber, 1951, 1961.
---, Selected Essays, ed. T. S. Eliot, London: Faber, 1954.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, trans. K. W. Maurer, London: Euston Press, 1943.
---, Letters on Cézanne, trans. Joel Agee, New York: North Point Press, 2nd edition, 2002.
Anne Stevenson, Between the Iceberg and the Ship: Selected Essays, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 1998.
Collections – Poets on Poetry, Writing, and Poetics
Donald Allen and Warren Tallman (eds.), The Poetics of the New American Poetry, New York: Grove, 1973.
Christopher Beach (ed.), Artifice and Indeterminacy: an Anthology of New Poetics, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
Tom Chivers (ed.), Adventures in Form: a Compendium of Poetic Forms, Rules, and Constraints, Penned in the Margins, 2012.
C. B. Culley (ed.), The Poet’s Voice and Craft, Manchester: Carcanet, 1994.
Tony Curtis (ed.), How Poets Work, Bridgend: Seren, 1996.
Annie Finch (ed.), After New Formalism: Poets on Form, Narrative, and Tradition, Ashland, OR: Story Line Press, 1999.
W. N. Herbert and Matthew Hollis (eds.), Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry, Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2000.
Helen Ivory and George Szirtes (eds.), In Their Own Words: Contemporary Poets on Their Poetry, Salt Publishing, 2012.
Alex Preminger et al. (ed.), The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. (Earlier editions, 1965, 1975.)
James Scully (ed.), Modern Poets on Modern Poetry, London: Collins, 1966.
Terry Eagleton, How to Read a Poem, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.
James Fenton, An Introduction to English Poetry, London: Penguin, 2003.
Northrop Frye (ed.), Sound and Poetry, New York: Columbia University Press, 1957.
Tom Furniss and Michael Bath, Reading Poetry: An Introduction, London: Longman, 1996.
Edward Hirsch, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, Roundhouse Publishing, 2000.
John Hollander, Rhyme’s Reason: A Guide to English Verse, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981; 3rd edition, 2001.
X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, An Introduction to Poetry, New York: HarperCollins, 8th edition, 1994.
John Lennard, The Poetry Handbook: a Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996; 2nd edition, 2005.
Glyn Maxwell, On Poetry, London: Oberon, 2012.
Philip Davies Roberts, How Poetry Works: the Elements of English Poetry, London: Penguin, 1986; 2nd edition, 2000.
Michael D. Hurley and Michael O’Neill, Poetic Form: an Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Ruth Padel, 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem: or How Reading Modern Poetry can Change your Life, Vintage, 2004.
Tom Paulin, The Secret Life of Poems: a Poetry Primer, London: Faber, 2011.
Robert Pinsky, The Sounds of Poetry: a Brief Guide, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
Robin Skelton, The Practice of Poetry, London: Heinemann, 1971.
Lewis Putnam Turco, The Book of Forms: a Handbook of Poetics, including odd and invented forms, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, rev. edition, 2012.
Jeffrey Wainwright, Poetry: the Basics, London: Routledge, 2004.
Shira Wolosky, The Art of Poetry: How to Read a Poem, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Rhythm and Metre
Derek Attridge and Thomas Carper, Meter and Meaning: an Introduction to Rhythm in Poetry, London: Routledge, 2003.
G. S. Fraser, Metre, Rhythm and Free Verse, The Critical Idiom, London: Methuen, 1970.
Paul Fussell, Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, New York: Random House, 1965.
Philip Hobsbaum, Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form, The New Critical Idiom, London: Routledge, 1996.
Timothy Steel, Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt against Meter, Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1990.
SCIENCE AND THE LITERARY IMAGINATION, 1850-1900
This Special Topic examines the relationship between literature and science in the second half of the nineteenth century—conflicts, rivalries, and interactions—with particular reference to the dramatization of scientific understanding in imaginative literature and the ‘literary’ aspects of scientific writing. A range of Victorian texts will be explored to assess different responses to developments in science: in poetry by Tennyson and Meredith; in fiction by George Eliot, Hardy and Wilkie Collins (whose novel Heart and Science revolves around vivisection); and in shorter fiction by Dickens and Henry James (whose story ‘In the Cage’, about a female telegraphist, explores the relationship between humans and technology). Less familiar works will include Richard Marsh’s mesmerist novel The Beetle and the autobiography of Charles Darwin. These primary texts will be supplemented by extracts and readings from scientific authors such as Babbage, Bichat, Tyndall, Huxley, Ruskin, Arnold, Spencer and G. H. Lewes, and seminar discussion will be given over in part to the exploration of their writing and ideas in conjunction with the primary imaginative literature. Topics will include evolutionary theories, medicine and doctors, mind/body relations, the theory of knowledge, scientific experimentation, telegraphy, telepathy and spiritualism. Students will develop a greater appreciation of scientific contexts while being encouraged to see how Victorian science engaged, like literature, with values and ethics.
A NOTE ON READING
We will explore Victorian literary culture and its relation to scientific ideas that were in circulation during the second half of the nineteenth century. No particular knowledge of science, or the history of science, is expected. But nonetheless it will be important to grasp something of the intellectual excitement, controversy, and impact of the ideas themselves, in order to appreciate how imaginative writing mediated scientific knowledge in the nineteenth century and contributed to its formation and debate. Some material from Victorian scientists, philosophers and intellectuals (these distinctions often blur in the period) will be made available through handouts, and some material can be found electronically, for instance on Google Books. Helpfully, there is also a very useful modern anthology, edited by Laura Otis, which is worth highlighting as a recommended purchase in addition to the primary texts:
Laura Otis (ed.). Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Otis’s introduction is an ideal starting point for the module, as it foregrounds some of the questions that will guide us and includes a bibliography of relevant secondary material. The reading list below indicates the primary texts you will study, in preferred editions; these will be supplemented by further reading and preparation ahead of each seminar, via DUO, drawing on selections from Otis and elsewhere. It would be advisable to read as many of the primary texts as possible during the summer vacation.
Introduction: The Victorians and the ‘two cultures debate’
Snow, C. P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1998) [library e-book; read introduction by Stefan Collini]
‘Introduction’ and ‘Prologue’ to Otis, Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century [extracts from John Tyndall, T. H. Huxley and Matthew Arnold]
Eliot, George. The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob, ed. Sally Shuttleworth (Penguin, 2009).
Browning, Robert. ‘Caliban upon Setebos’ [in Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. 2]
Tennyson, Alfred. The Major Works, ed. Adam Roberts (Oxford University Press, 2009).
[In Memoriam; ‘Lucretius’]
Collins, Wilkie. Heart and Science, ed. Steve Farmer (Broadview, 1996).
Eliot, George. Middlemarch, ed. Rosemary Ashton (Penguin Classics, 1994).
Meredith, George. Modern Love [digitized extracts provided]
Hopkins, Gerard Manley. The Major Works, ed. Catherine Phillips (Oxford World’s Classics, 2009)
[‘The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air We Breathe’; ‘God’s Grandeur’; ‘Duns Scotus’s Oxford’]
Hardy, Thomas. ‘Hap’; ‘God’s Funeral’; ‘To Outer Nature’ [digitized poems provided]
Darwin, Charles. Autobiography, ed. Michael Neve (Penguin Classics, 2002).
Butler, Samuel. Erewhon, ed. Peter Mudford (Penguin Classics, 1985).
Hardy, Thomas. Two on a Tower, ed. Sally Shuttleworth (Penguin Classics, 1999)
Dickens, Charles. ‘The Signalman’ [digitized version provided and available online]
James, Henry. Selected Tales, ed. John Lyon (Penguins Classics, 2001) [‘In the Cage’]
Marsh, Richard. The Beetle: A Mystery (Penguin, 2008).
Some sense of the scope of the module, and familiarity with key literary critics who have helped shape the field of literature and science, can be gained by consulting these five items of secondary reading:
Beer, Gillian. Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 3rd edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Levine, George. Dying to Know: Scientific Epistemology and Narrative in Victorian England (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2002).
Levine, George. Realism, Ethics and Secularism: Essays on Victorian Literature and Science (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Shuttleworth, Sally. George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Science: The Make-Believe of a Beginning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
Sleigh, Charlotte. Literature and Science (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Altick, Richard D. Victorian People and Ideas. (London: J. M. Dent, 1974).
Amigoni, David. Colonies, Cults, and Evolution: Literature, Science and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Writing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Arnold, Matthew. Culture and Anarchy, ed. Jane Garnett (Oxford: OUP, 2000).
Ashton, Rosemary. George Eliot: A Life (Penguin, 1997).
Ashton, Rosemary. G. H. Lewes: An Unconventional Victorian (London: Pimlico, 2000).
Bailin, Miriam. The Sickroom in Victorian Fiction: The Art of Being Ill (Cambridge: CUP, 1994).
Baldick, Chris. In Frankenstein's Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-Century Writing (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987).
Beer, Gillian. Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 3rd edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Beer, Gillian, George Eliot (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1986).
Beer, John. Romanticism, Revolution and Language: The Fate of the Word from Samuel Johnson to George Eliot (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009).
Boehm, Katharina. Charles Dickens and the Sciences of Childhood: Popular Medicine, Child Health and Victorian Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Bourne Taylor, Jenny and Sally Shuttleworth (eds). Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998).
Brown, Daniel. The Poetry of Victorian Scientists: Style, Science and Nonsense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Buckland, Adeline. Novel Science: Fiction and the Invention of Nineteenth-Century Geology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).
Budge, Gavin. Romanticism, Medicine and the Natural Supernatural: Transcendent Vision and Bodily Spectres, 1789-1852 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Burney, Ian. ‘Medicine in the Age of Reform’ in Rethinking the Age of Reform, eds. Joanna Innes and Arthur Burns (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), pp. 163-181.
Byerly, Alison. Realism, Representation and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Cambridge: CUP, 1997).
Byrne, Katherine. Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Caldwell, Janis McLarren. Literature and Medicine in Nineteenth-Century Britain: From Mary Shelley to George Eliot (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004).
Carroll, David. George Eliot and the Conflict of Interpretations (Cambridge: CUP, 1992).
Chase, Karen (ed). Middlemarch in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford: OUP, 2006).
Coleman, Deidre and Hilary Fraser. Minds, Bodies, and Machines, 1770-1930 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Daly, Nicholas. Literature, Technology and Modernity, 1860-2000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species, ed. Gillian Beer (Oxford: OUP, 2008).
Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man, eds. James Moore and Adrian Desmond (London: Penguin, 2004).
David, Deirdre (ed). The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel (Cambridge: CUP, 2001).
Davies, Tony. Humanism (London: Routledge, 1997).
Davis, Michael. George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Psychology (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006).
Davis, Philip. The Oxford English Literary History: The Victorians / Vol.8, 1830-1880 (Oxford: OUP, 2002).
Davis, Philip. Why Victorian Literature Still Matters (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008).
DeWitt, Anne. Moral Authority, Men of Science and the Victorian Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Dollimore, Jonathan. Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture (London: Routledge, 1998).
Dupre, John. Darwin’s Legacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Eldridge, Richard (ed). The Oxford Handbook of Literature and Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
Ermarth, Elizabeth. Realism and Consensus in the English Novel (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1998).
Ermarth, Elizabeth. The English Novel in History 1840-1895 (London: Routledge, 1997).
Fleishman, Avram. George Eliot’s Intellectual Life (Cambridge: CUP, 2010).
Furst, Lilian. Realism (London: Longman, 1992).
Furst, Lilian. ‘Struggling for Medical Reform in Middlemarch’, Nineteenth-Century Literature 48 (1994): 341-61.
Garratt, Peter. Victorian Empiricism (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2010).
Garrison, Laurie. Science, Sexuality and Sensation Novels: Pleasures of the Senses (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979).
Glendinning, John. The Evolutionary Imagination in Late-Victorian Novels (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).
Groth, Helen. Moving Images. Nineteenth-Century Reading and Screen Practices (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
Halliwell, Martin and Andy Mousley. Critical Humanisms (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003).
Hancock, Stephen. The Romantic Sublime and Middle-Class Subjectivity in the Victorian Novel (London: Routledge, 2005).
Henchman, Anna. The Starry Sky Within: Astronomy and the Reach of the Mind in Victorian Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Hertz, Neil. George Eliot’s Pulse (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2003).
Holmes, John. Darwin’s Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).
Innes, Joanna and Arthur Burns (eds). Rethinking the Age of Reform (Cambridge: CUP, 2007).
Jordan, John and Robert Patten (eds). Literature in the Marketplace (Cambridge: CUP, 1995).
Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968).
Klancher, Jon. Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences: Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Kontou, Tatiana and Sarah Willburn. The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).
Leavis, F. R., The Great Tradition (London: Chatto, 1960).
Levine, George. Darwin and the Novelists: Patterns of Science in Victorian Fiction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).
Levine, George. Darwin the Writer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
Levine, George. Dying to Know (Chicago: Chicago UP, 2002).
Levine, George. How to Read the Victorian Novel (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008).
Logan, Peter Melville. Nerves and Narratives: A Cultural History of Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century British Prose (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
Marsden, Ben, Hazel Hutchison and Ralph O’Connor (eds.). Uncommon Encounters: Encounters Between Science and Literature, 1800–1914 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013).
Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty and the Subjection of Women, ed. Alan Ryan (London: Penguin, 2006).
Miller, J. Hillis. The Disappearance of God: Five Nineteenth-Century Writers, 4th edn. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000).
Morris, Pam. Realism (London: Routledge New Critical Idiom, 2003).
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Nietzsche Reader, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson and Duncan Large (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
O’Gorman, Francis. The Victorian Novel (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002).
Otis, Laura (ed.). Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Otis, Laura. Networking: Communicating with Bodies and Machines in the Nineteenth Century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001).
Oulton, Carolyn. Literature and Religion in Mid-Victorian England: From Dickens to Eliot (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).
Page, Michael. The Literary Imagination from Erasmus Darwin to H. G. Wells: Science, Evolution and Ecology (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).
Pamboukian, Sylvia. Doctoring the Novel: Medicine and Quackery from Shelley to Doyle. (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2012).
Payne, David. The Reenchantment of Nineteenth-Century Fiction: Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, and Serialization (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005).
Reilly, Jim. Shadowtime: History and Representation in Hardy, Conrad, and George Eliot (London: Routledge, 1993).
Richardson, Angelique. Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century: Rational Reproduction and the New Woman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Richardson, Angelique (ed.). After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2013).
Rignall, John (ed). The Oxford Reader's Companion to George Eliot (Oxford: OUP, 2001).
Rose, Jacqueline. Sexuality in the Field of Vision (London: Verso, 2005).
Ruskin, John. Selected Writings, ed. Dinah Birch (Oxford: OUP, 2009).
Rylance, Rick. Victorian Psychology and British Culture, 1850-1880 (Oxford: OUP, 2000).
Salisbury, Laura and Andrew Shail (eds). Neurology and Modernity: A Cultural History of Nervous Systems, 1800-1950 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010).
Schmidt, Cannon. Darwin and the Memory of the Human (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Secord, James. Victorian Sensation (Chicago: Chicago UP, 2000).
Secord, Jim. Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Shuttleworth, Sally. George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Science: The Make-Believe of a Beginning (Cambridge: CUP, 1987).
Sleigh, Charlotte. Literature and Science (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Sparks, Tabitha. The Doctor in the Victorian Novel (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009).
Spinks, Lee. Friedrich Nietzsche (London: Routledge, 2003).
Staten, Henry. Spirit Becomes Matter: The Brontës, George Eliot, Nietzsche (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014).
Stevenson, Lionel. Darwin Among the Poets (Russell and Russell, 1963).
Stiles, Ann. Popular Fiction and Brain Science in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Wheeler, Michael. English Fiction of the Victorian Period, 1830-1890 (London: Longman, 1985).
Wheeler, Michael. Death and the Future Life in Victorian Literature and Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Wilkes, Joanne. Women Reviewing Women in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).
Willis, Martin. Vision, Science and Literature, 1870-1920: Ocular Horizons (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011).
Winter, Alison. Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1998).
Shakespeare on Film, 2014-2015
Course Outline. Vacation Reading and Viewing
The seminars will discuss a range of Shakespeare films including a selection from the following: the classic films of Laurence Olivier (Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III and Othello), Orson Welles (Macbeth, Othello and The Chimes at Midnight), Peter Brook (King Lear), Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet), Peter Hall (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Roman Polanski (Macbeth); Hollywood versions, such as the Max Reinhardt A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Julius Caesars of 1953 and 1969; foreign language versions, such as the Russian Hamlet and King Lear directed by Grigori Kozintsev, and the Japanese adaptations of Akira Kurosawa (Throne of Blood, Ran); television versions, including the BBC series of the complete plays; more recent films, including those of Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and As You Like It), Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet), Julie Taymor (Titus, The Tempest), Ralph Fiennes (Coriolanus), and Joss Whedon (Much Ado About Nothing); and experimental work by Celestino Coronado (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet), Derek Jarman (The Tempest; The Angelic Conversation) and Peter Greenaway (Prospero’s Books).
During the vacation you should read some of the appropriate plays, and view a selection of these films. See the following draft seminar programme for guidance.
The course will begin with Laurence Olivier’s film of Henry V. You will be expected to have read the play, seen both this film and Kenneth Branagh’s film of Henry V, and read chapters 1 and 9 of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film before the first seminar. A full booklist will be distributed at the first seminar.
The Library has multiple copies of the films to be discussed in seminars. It will be helpful in using these if you can check that your college has DVD players (which must be multi-region, to play material sourced from the US). For the first time in 2011-12 the library mounted weekly screenings of films to be studied in seminars. These screenings will continue in 2013-14. Those taking the course will need to obtain their own copies of films discussed in assessed essays, and should make appropriate arrangements for doing this well in advance of the need. Copies cannot be obtained from the University bookshop, and the University has no multiple-copy ordering arrangements with video and DVD stores. Copies must, therefore, be ordered individually, in good time, from an appropriate supplier. With the exception of the films of Akira Kurosawa, assessed essays must be about films (or television productions) of works actually by Shakespeare (not films based on Shakespeare scenarios, such as Ten Things I Hate About You, or Kiss Me Kate).
An up-to-date introduction providing a basic survey of the topic is:
Russell Jackson (ed.), Shakespeare on Film. Cambridge Companions, Cambridge, 2000, 2nd edition 2007. Everyone taking the course should have his or her own copy of this. The module will also propose some reading in the practices of film and performance criticism, using David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 9th edn., 2010). Please request a copy of this for your college library now.
All seminars will be concerned with one play and two films, which all participants will be expected to read and to view. (This is a relatively new structure, devised in response to questionnaire comments.)
Each seminar will also call for one or more pieces of critical reading – usually relevant sections of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film (ed. Russell Jackson, CUP, 2000; 2nd edition, 2007), sometimes an essay or article from some alternative source. Also for the first term’s seminars chapters on basic issues in film criticism are recommended from David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th editions. (There are several copies of each of these editions in the University Library, some in Short Loan, some available on 3-day loan.)
Play Texts and Film Texts. You should use up-to-date annotated editions of the plays on which you write assessed essays. Editions of individual works with introductions, annotation and textual apparatus include the Arden and Arden 3 (in which over thirty titles have now been issued), New Penguin, New Cambridge and Oxford series (now available as World’s Classics). It is best to use these, where you can, for seminar preparation. Many of these editions are available in multiple copies in the University Library and in College Libraries (all of which have been specifically asked to buy the Arden 3 titles as they come out – so please enquire of your college librarian if your college library does not have them). The full reading list for the module (to be distributed at the first seminar) will give details of audio recordings held by the University Library which may be helpful in getting to know the full text of a play relatively independent of directorial intervention.
Seminars will be organized partly round two student-led introductions, one of which will use a short passage from the primary film to consider detail of the film text and / or the play text, using either the particular issues raised by the section of Film Art read for that seminar (mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound, style), or the textual detail of the play for the section of the film chosen.
The organization of the course is largely in historical sequence, from the 1940s to the present. Experiments with alternative modes of adaptation (opera, ballet, and the completely filmic transformation, Throne of Blood) are gathered in the syllabus. For obvious reasons, films selected for comparison cannot be considered in historical sequence. The first term is concerned with twentieth-century films, the second term sequenced largely with twenty-first century productions. The emphasis of the course is on range of film types and variety of dramatic realizations. All types of Shakespeare films are represented: general release, ‘art house’, television, foreign language films, filmed theatre, and radical adaptation.