- Course Number: ENGL 235
- Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 235
- Quarter: Winter 2020
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.