The dramatic monologue—in which a single character (not the poet) speaks his or her mind to a silent audience-- is one of the most innovative and influential poetic forms of modern times. Exploding on the scene in Victorian Britain, the dramatic monologues developed in conjunction with psychology in science, and with psychological realism in the novel. This course will focus on a range of Victorian dramatic monologues (by Tennyson, the Brownings, the Rossettis, and Augusta Webster, among others). Alongside the poetry, we will sample literary criticism, nineteenth-century psychology, and current cognitive studies. The goal will be to think about how we assess Other minds from a brief and compressed sample of relevant speech.
Required texts: Victorian Poetry, edited by Francis O’Gorman
Readings of criticism and theory will be made available electronically.
Required writing: informal journals, one page per class period, and one final 10-page research paper