Weekly Assignment #11

November 9, 2006 at 11:54 am (Weekly Assignments)

Read these nine Hopkins poems, please: “God’s Grandeur,” “The Windhover,” “Pied Beauty,” “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo,” “Carrion Comfort,” “No worst, there is none,” “I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day,” “Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,” and “My own heart let me have more pity on.”

And, as usual, and for the last time, please post questions and answers on the usual schedule.

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Weekly Assignment #10

November 6, 2006 at 1:37 pm (Weekly Assignments)

Oops. Sorry for not posting the Swinburne assignment last week. Those of you who have not already posted questions, please do add your comments to this post.

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Extra Christina Rossetti poem / Weekly Assignment #9

November 1, 2006 at 3:44 pm (Weekly Assignments)

This is one of my favorite Christina Rossetti poems, but it’s rarely anthologized. It was written in 1862, the year Lizzie Siddal died, so it might be about her; it might also be about Rossetti’s mother. Note the almost militant transfiguration of the “Blessed Damozel” image. Note, too, the unusual rhyme scheme of the sestet and that the volta comes at the twelfth line instead of the ninth.

IN PROGRESS

Ten years ago it seemed impossible
That she could ever grow as calm as this,
With self-remembrance in her warmest kiss
And dim dried eyes like an exhausted well.
Slow-speaking when she has some fact to tell,
Silent with long-unbroken silences,
Centred in self yet not unpleased to please,
Gravely monotonous like a passing bell.
Mindful of drudging daily common things,
Patient at pastime, patient at her work,
Wearied perhaps but strenuous certainly.
Sometimes I fancy we may one day see
Her head shoot forth seven stars from where they lurk
And her eyes lightning and her shoulders wings.

[Added note: Yes — questions and answers appended to this post, please!]

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Weekly Assignment #7

October 10, 2006 at 2:21 pm (Weekly Assignments)

Hope you all had a great time gleaning your brains in the midterm today! Looking forward to reading what you wrote. I’ll return your essays with comments next week. From here on in, plan to keep working on that paper toward a final version for the end of the semester; note that expanded (ungraded) drafts are due in less than six weeks, on November 21, before Thanksgiving. We’ll workshop those on the last four days of class, and you’ll turn in a final version by Thursday, December 14.

When we return next week, we’ll be discussing George Meredith’s long poem “Modern Love.” Go ahead and read the Petrarchan sonnet “Lucifer in Starlight,” too; those are the only Meredith selections in your anthology. Please post questions and answers on Meredith on the usual timetable.

Oh, and here’s that timetable I put together (it’s an Excel spreadsheet).

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Weekly Assignment #6

October 3, 2006 at 11:50 am (Weekly Assignments)

The assignment this week is to ask a one-sentence question, not about Coventry Patmore (who will have to remain unquestioned until class), but about Victorian poetry and/or Victorian love poetry in general. This question should be difficult, although it can still partake of the factual — it should be a question, in short, that you must essay to answer (get it? important etymology, there). Please submit this question as a comment to this post by midnight on Monday.

Here are some sample questions based on what you have been posting and saying that could be answered with an essay:

  • Do the theories of Lacan help us to understand Victorian poetry?
  • Did the Victorian working classes read poetry?
  • How metrically experimental was Victorian poetry?
  • Did major Victorian poets understand and use the ‘language of flowers’?
  • How much did Victorian poetry subscribe to the idea of social progress, social development?
  • Was Victorian love poetry erotic, sentimental, intellectualized, repressed, or all or none of these?
  • Where in Victorian poetry can we see the effect of the events and ideologies of the British Empire?

And, for once, you will answer your own question: not with an answer (not yet), but with a bibliography. This bibliography should include, but not be limited to, some of the poems we have read or will read in class. The bibliography can be as long or as short as you like, and can include primary or secondary sources — whatever seems as though it will help you answer your question. The only other criterion is that you must actually be able to read those sources, and you must plan to actually read them (if you haven’t already).

Victorian essays on poetics in our textbook are already in your possession; books and journals owned by our library are easy enough to obtain; and some works are fully available to everyone online through Google Book and Google Scholar. Some other sources that would help you might take a little time to obtain: interlibrary loan through Tripsaver usually takes less than a week, for instance, or you might decide that you really need to take a day and drive up to Duke University, where your NCSU ID will grant you the right to look at eighty-seven Tennyson letters in manuscript. Though, of course, most questions could easily rely on the published Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson right here in our own library.

Please submit your bibliography as a comment to this post by midnight on Wednesday.

Note that this bibliography will serve as a preliminary bibliography for your in-class essay on October 10, and that essay will attempt to answer the question you ask this week. It’s fine if your bibliography changes before October 10, but I will ask you to bring a printed bibliography and the works themselves, or your notes on them, to class on that day. If you want to write your in-class essay using a laptop, that will be fine, and if you want to get started on it before October 10, that will be fine, too. That essay (which can be as long or short as you like) will be due, typed up and printed or e-mailed to me as an attachment, by midnight on Tuesday October 10. Your midterm essay may (or may not) serve as the germ of the long 15- to 20- page essay due by the end of the semester. But more on that next week.

One final point: I am imagining both the midterm and the final essay as making a really very broad, general argument about “Victorian poetry” or “Victorian love poetry” that draws on several of the poets we’ve read this semester for supporting evidence and also makes important distinctions between these poets within that larger argument, but I could be convinced on a case-by-case basis to countenance the writing of an essay that is much more narrowly focused, one that asks and answers a question about a single author or a single poem that we’ve read.

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Weekly Assignment #5

September 21, 2006 at 6:39 pm (Weekly Assignments)

The first part of the weekly assignment is to ask a question about the reading for this week — a real question; i.e., something you don’t know the answer to. ONE sentence only, please: questions of more than one sentence will not receive credit. I might give an extra point for great questions. Questions are due by midnight on Monday. Late questions will not be given credit.

The second part of the weekly assignment is to answer someone’s question (not your own). You must cite at least one authoritative source. (I will withhold credit for answers without a reference. If you make a sui generis argument, find an authority to support it, or else find an authority to testily contradict.) These answers can be as long as you like; I might give an extra point for great answers. Answers are due by midnight on Wednesday. Late answers will not be given credit.

Submit all questions and answers as comments to this post. Feel free to post other commentary in the comments, as well.

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Weekly Assignment #4

September 14, 2006 at 2:09 pm (Weekly Assignments)

For this week’s assignment, I’d be especially interested in seeing questions and answers about Victorian culture, social issues, and philosophy as suggested by “In Memoriam A. H. H.” in addition to questions about Tennyson himself.

The first part of the weekly assignment is to ask a question about the reading for this week — a real question; i.e., something you don’t know the answer to. ONE sentence only, please: questions of more than one sentence will not receive credit. I might give an extra point for great questions. Questions are due by midnight on Monday. Late questions will not be given credit.

The second part of the weekly assignment is to answer someone’s question (not your own). You must cite at least one authoritative source. (I will withhold credit for answers without a reference. If you make a sui generis argument, find an authority to support it, or else find an authority to testily contradict.) These answers can be as long as you like; I might give an extra point for great answers. Answers are due by midnight on Wednesday. Late answers will not be given credit.

Submit all questions and answers as comments to this post. Feel free to post other commentary in the comments, as well.

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Weekly Assignment #2

September 5, 2006 at 2:41 pm (Weekly Assignments)

The first part of the weekly assignment is to ask a question about the reading for this week — a real question; i.e., something you don’t know the answer to. ONE sentence only, please: questions of more than one sentence will not receive credit. I might give an extra point for great questions. Questions are due by midnight on Monday. Late questions will not be given credit.

The second part of the weekly assignment is to answer someone’s question (not your own). You must cite at least one authoritative source. (I will withhold credit for answers without a reference. If you make a sui generis argument, find an authority to support it, or else find an authority to testily contradict.) These answers can be as long as you like; I might give an extra point for great answers. Answers are due by midnight on Wednesday. Late answers will not be given credit.

Submit all questions and answers as comments to this post. Feel free to post other commentary in the comments, as well.

By the way, I adore that Billy Collins poem “Nightclub”; it’s one of my all-time favorite love poems. However, I don’t see even a smidgen of similitude between it and anything EBB wrote. Sorry. Perhaps a well-written essay would convince me.

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Weekly Assignment #1

August 29, 2006 at 2:40 pm (Weekly Assignments)

The first part of the weekly assignment is to ask a question about the reading for this week — a real question; i.e., something you don’t know the answer to. ONE sentence only, please: questions of more than one sentence will not receive credit. I might give an extra point for great questions. Questions are due by midnight on Monday. Late questions will not be accepted.

The second part of the weekly assignment is to answer someone’s question (not your own). You must cite at least one authoritative source. These answers can be as long as you like; I might give an extra point for great answers. Answers are due by midnight on Wednesday. Late answers will not be accepted.

Submit all questions and answers as comments to this post. Feel free to post other commentary in the comments, as well.

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