English 9203

Nineteenth Century British Poetry: An Advanced Introduction

Instructor: Professor M. Rowlinson
Summer 2022 Course, Full-Year Equivalent.

This course will give a selective survey of nineteenth century poetry, pitched at graduate students but presupposing no knowledge of the field. The motive for offering it is frankly that of the grad students I have recently had or still have under supervision, none are working on poetry, and I worry that the study of poetry is becoming increasingly marginal in the field. The organizing topics of the course will be 1) the relation between poetry and the emergence of mass print culture in the nineteenth century, and 2) The study of genres of nineteenth century poetry—eg, the ode, the elegy, the dramatic monologue, loco-descriptive poetry, the ballad, possibly the epic, though I would expect to teach long poems through selections. My thought at the moment is to consider one major collection of poetry a week, with also some time given to poetry published in periodical form such as annuals and chartist newspapers. I might also organize some course segments around poems published in a single year—eg, 1850, with The Prelude, In Memoriam, and “Sonnets from the Portuguese.” The course would cover a selection of major criticism, and would use resources from the rare book collection at Weldon to study nineteenth century poems as material texts.