Syllabus

The full syllabus is available here: syllabus.pdf.

Schedule

Readings are to be completed by the day they are listed under. The schedule may change as term goes on; the most up-to-date syllabus will always be available at pls21.blogs.rutgers.edu/syllabus.

All poetry readings, except Hayes’s American Sonnets, will be distributed electronically, on Sakai except where otherwise noted. As much as possible, read on the printed page, not the screen. You are required to print out the poems listed in boldface. We will spend substantial time on each of these in class (though we will of course also discuss the other assigned poems).

Each assigned poem should be read multiple times, on multiple days, in multiple ways: silently, aloud; with pencil in hand, with empty hands; deliberately, speedily; standing up, sitting down; dramatically, restrainedly.

I expect you to have all the fiction readings in print form, in the versions I have assigned for the course. The remaining readings—scholarly essays and other supplemental material—will be distributed electronically and need not be printed for class. I am happy to discuss any issues relating to obtaining and using the course texts one-on-one.

Thursday, January 21. Introduction: ars poetica.

  • Emily Dickinson, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” (1872).
  • Anne Bradstreet, “The Author to Her Book” (1678).
  • Marianne Moore, “Poetry” (1919 and 1981).
  • Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” (1976).
  • OED, 3rd ed., s.v. “literature.”

Monday, January 25. Words and meanings.

  • Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 1, 55 (ca. 1581–83).
  • John Donne, “A Valediction: forbidding Mourning” (ca. 1611?).
  • William Wordsworth, “A slumber did my spirit seal” (1798).
  • Ezra Pound, “In a station of the metro” (1913).
  • H.D., “Sea Rose” (1916).
  • Langston Hughes, “Harlem” (1951).
  • Philip Larkin, “This Be The Verse” (1974).
  • Rae Armantrout, “Will” (2013).

Exercise due Jan. 25

The meaning of a word.

(Tuesday, January 26.)

  • Last day to drop the course without a “W.”

Thursday, January 28. Lines and sentences.

  • William Shakespeare, Sonnets 18, 30, 116, 129 (1609).
  • George Herbert, “Jordan” (1), “Prayer” (1) (1633).
  • John Milton, “When I consider how my light is spent” (1652?).
  • Walt Whitman, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” (1865), “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” (1865).
  • Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man” (1923), “Man Carrying Thing” (1947).
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” (1959).
  • Bonus: Terrance Hayes, “The Golden Shovel” (2010).
  • Stauder, INTRA, §2. Optional: §3.

Monday, February 1. Meter (1): four beats.

  • “Humpty Dumpty,” “Baa baa, black sheep,” “Skip-a to my Lou” (dates unknown).
  • John Newton, “Amazing Grace” (1779).
  • “Sir Patrick Spens” (before 1765).
  • William Blake, “The Lamb” (1789), “The Tyger” (1794).
  • William Wordsworth, “We are Seven” (1798).
  • Felicia Hemans, “Casabianca” (1826).
  • Emily Dickinson, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” (1862), “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died” (1863).
  • Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky” (1871).
  • Muriel Rukeyser, “Ballad of Orange and Grape” (1973).
  • Bonus: Bob Dylan, “Boots of Spanish Leather” (1963).
  • Recommended: Robson, “Standing on the Burning Deck.”

Thursday, February 4. Meter (2): pentameter.

  • Stauder, INTRA, §4.1, 4.3.1–4.3.5 (all subsections of 4.3, on the Attridge system). This technical material will be fully reviewed in class.
  • Shakespeare, Sonnets 49, 130 (1609).
  • Milton, Paradise Lost 1.1–26 (1674).
  • Anna Letitia Barbauld, “Washing-Day” (1797).
  • Wordsworth, “Tintern Abbey” (1798).
  • Shelley, “England in 1819” (1819).
  • Wallace Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West” (1935).

Monday, February 8. Rhyme: couplets.

  • Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress” (1681).
  • Jonathan Swift, “The City Shower” (1710).
  • W.B. Yeats, “Adam’s Curse” (1903).
  • Wilfred Owen, “Strange Meeting” (1918).
  • Agha Shahid Ali, “Tonight” (1996).

Exercise due Feb. 10

Meter practice.

Thursday, February 11. Fixed form: sonnets.

  • Thomas Wyatt, “Whoso list to hunt” (1525?).
  • Shakespeare, Sonnets 1, 20, 35, 73, 125, 138, and those previously assigned: 18, 30, 49, 116, 129, 130.
  • Donne, Holy Sonnets 4, 10 (1609–?).
  • Wordsworth, “Composed upon Westminster Bridge” (1802).
  • Shelley, “England in 1819” (previously assigned).
  • George Meredith, Modern Love 1, 2 (1862).
  • W.B. Yeats, “Leda and the Swan” (1923).
  • Wallace Stevens, “Autumn Refrain” (1932).
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, “the rites for Cousin Vit” (1949).
  • Patrick Kavanagh, “Epic” (1951).
  • Seamus Heaney, “Clearances” 3, 7, 8 (1987).
  • Vendler, The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 1–10, 487–93.

Monday, February 15. Some stanza shapes.

  • John Donne, “The Canonization” (after 1603).
  • George Herbert, “Easter Wings” (1633).
  • John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (1819).
  • Thomas Hardy, “The Convergence of the Twain” (1914), “The Voice” (1914).
  • Marianne Moore, “The Fish” (1924).
  • W.H. Auden, “In Memory of W.B. Yeats” (1939).
  • Wallace Stevens, “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour” (1954).
  • Elizabeth Bishop, “Sestina” (1965).

(Thursday, February 18.)

  • Class cancelled due to snow storm.

Monday, February 22. Speakers and addressees.

  • Donne, “The Flea,” “The Sun Rising” (after 1603), “A Valediction: forbidding Mourning” (previously assigned).
  • Phyllis Wheatley, “On Being Brought from Africa to America” (1773).
  • John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (previously assigned).
  • Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess” (1842).
  • Emily Dickinson, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” (1861), “Publication – is the Auction” (1863).
  • Herman Melville, “Shiloh” (1862).
  • T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915).
  • Langston Hughes, “Good Morning Revolution” (1932).
  • Derek Walcott, “The Sea Is History” (1979).
  • Warner, “What Like a Bullet Can Undeceive?”

Thursday, February 25. Some open forms.

  • John Milton, “Lycidas” (1638).
  • Walt Whitman, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” (previously assigned).
  • Marianne Moore, “An Octopus” (1924).
  • A.R. Ammons, “Corsons Inlet” (1965).
  • Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck” (1972).
  • A.K. Ramanujan, “Elements of Composition” (1986).
  • (Optional: Eliot, The Waste Land, in The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose; see Sakai handout.)

Monday, March 1. Sonnets again.

  • Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. Read the whole volume, then choose a single sonnet to prepare for discussion.
  • Rowell, “‘The Poet in the Enchanted Shoe Factory.’” Note the date of the interview.

Exercise due March 3.

The principled essay introduction. Note Wednesday due date.

Thursday, March 4.

  • Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, cont.
  • Claude McKay, “America” (1921), “If We Must Die” (1922).
  • Stevens, “A High-Toned Old Christian Woman” (1923); “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” (1923).
  • Wanda Coleman, “American Sonnet 91” (2001), “American Sonnet 95” (2001).
  • Hayes, “Sonnet” (2002), “Snow for Wallace Stevens” (2010).

Monday, March 8. Plot.

  • From Doyle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:
    • “A Scandal in Bohemia” (1891).
    • “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (1892).

Thursday, March 11. Genre.

  • Hammett, “Arson Plus” (1923).
  • Chandler, “I’ll Be Waiting” (1939).
  • Frow, Genre, 6–19, 134–41.

(Friday, March 12.)

  • Paper 1 due.

(Saturday, March 13. Spring break.)

Monday, March 22. Frames.

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, vol. 1.
  • (Last day to withdraw with a “W.”)

Thursday, March 25. Intertextuality.

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, vols. 1–2.
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Mont Blanc.”

Monday, March 29. Textuality.

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, complete, and appendices A and B.

Exercise due March 29

The effect of embedding.

Thursday, April 1. Seriously.

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, continued; read the preface by a Shelley.
  • Mellor, “Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach.”
  • Poovey, “My Hideous Progeny.”

Monday, April 5. Point of view.

  • James, In the Cage, chaps. 1–11. We are not reading The Turn of the Screw.
  • Zunshine, Why We Read Fiction, 6–12, 16–36.

Thursday, April 8.

  • James, In the Cage, through chap. 19.

Monday, April 12.

  • James, In the Cage, complete.

Exercise due April 12

Mind-reading.

Thursday, April 15.

  • Achebe, Things Fall Apart, chaps. 1–8.
  • Ndibe, “Nigeria.”

Monday, April 19.

  • Achebe, Things Fall Apart, chaps. 1–12.

Thursday, April 22. Earth Day. Fiction and history.

  • Achebe, Things Fall Apart, complete.
  • Gikandi, “African Literature and the Colonial Factor.”

Monday, April 26.

  • Achebe, Things Fall Apart, complete.
  • Quayson, “Realism, Criticism, and the Disguises of Both.”

Exercise due April 27

Paper pre-writing, with a response to a scholar.

Thursday, April 29.

  • Coetzee, “The Novel in Africa” (2003).
  • Coetzee, “The Dog” (2017).

Monday, May 3.

  • Bulawayo, “Hitting Budapest” (2010).
  • Bulawayo, “Happy Birthday Africa President” (2014).
  • Course conclusion.

(Tuesday, May 4.)

  • Paper 2 due.

(Date TBA.)

  • Take-home final exam.