Whitman and Dickinson

Course Number: ENGL 235
Prerequisites: Graduate Standing
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 235
Quarter: Winter 2020
Instructor: Maslan, Mark
Day(s): T
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:50 PM
Location: SH 2714

This course offers students an in-depth encounter with the two most original and unconventional poets in the literature of the United States, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.  Considered classics today, they were far from the mainstream in their lifetimes.  We will seek to recover what was and remains surprising and groundbreaking about these two authors, from their sexual and gender-nonconformity to their departures from conventional poetic form, diction and subject matter.  We will begin with some touchstones in 19th-century poetics, including essays by Wordsworth, Emerson and Poe, before devoting four weeks to each poet.  We will read relevant work from a variety of theoretical perspectives—including affect theory, eco-criticism, critical theory, lyric studies, and queer theory—in addition to criticism on the poets.