Dickinson and Hopkins (LIT2542.01)

Michael Dumanis

This seminar will look in depth at the work of two idiosyncratic mid-to-late 19th-century devotional poets, the legendary American recluse Emily Dickinson and the tormented British Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins, both of whom reimagined the lyric poem and revolutionized poetic language, transforming the sound and texture of English verse through their original approaches to rhythm, syntax, punctuation, and word choice. Particular attention will be paid to the innovative and subversive nature of both poets’ work, to a close reading of individual poems, and to the spiritual and religious dimensions of their poetry, the myriad ways both Dickinson and Hopkins wrestled with God in their writing. We will also examine the life of each poet consider Dickinson and Hopkins in the context of their contemporaries, and visit Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts. Students should expect to write two essays (one on Dickinson and one on Hopkins), to memorize and recite a poem by each poet, and to complete several creative assignments.

Learning Outcomes:
Through this course, students will

a) strengthen their critical writing skills and the effectiveness of their verbal participation in discussions
b)develop a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the biographies, aesthetic sensibilities, and formal approaches to poetics of both Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins
c) learn to do read poems on a molecular level while developing an appreciation for grappling with "difficult" work
d) consider the effect of meter, rhythm, rhyme, diction, syntax, image, and slippage on individual poems
e) form an understanding of the historical, political, and societal context which helped shape these two writers

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature
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