Course Syllabus—Fall 2010

Eng 337: Nineteenth-Century English Literature

———Poetry in an Age of Prose

Professor: D. F. Felluga
Office: HEAV 430
Hours: MWF 10-11
Class: MWF 2:30-3:20; HEAV 129

Morris print

Course Description

Is life worth living without an appreciation of that within life that is poetry? This is one insistent question that will pursue us throughout this course, as it did the Romantics and Victorians throughout the nineteenth century. Other questions we will pursue include: can poetry survive in our modern age? What effect does a mass market have on poetry? What are the generic parameters of poetry as a form of expression? What debt do we owe to the poetry of the nineteenth century? In the course of responding to such questions, this class will come to understand the development of literature and culture from the eighteenth and into the twentieth century; indeed, the class is organized by date rather than by author to ensure we keep the historical situation of these authors in mind as we proceed through the semester. The class will also seek to understand and appreciate poetry: how does one read poetry? How does one analyze verse form? How does one make sense of poetic "license"? As a result, a significant part of many classes will be spent analyzing individual poems, particularly shorter lyrics. By the end of this course, students should gain both an understanding of nineteenth-century verse forms and a facility in analyzing those forms. They will also learn about the major social, cultural, and historical developments of the nineteenth century.

Students can learn about significant terms and concepts at the following Guide to Terms :

Participation/Attendance: 10% Mid-Term Exam: 15%
First Essay (4-5 pages): 15% Final Exam: 25%
Second Essay (5-6 pages): 25% Sonnet: 10%

Poetry readings available at password-protected site
Aurora Leigh (Oxford UP—0-19-283653-6), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Available at Von's Books.


WEEK ONE: 1789-1794

In every voice, in every ban,/ the mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

Wednesday, August 25

Friday, August 27


WEEK TWO: 1795-1802

all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings

Wednesday, September 1

Friday, September 3

WEEK THREE: 1803-1808

Our destiny, our being's heart and home/, Is with infinitude, and only there

Wednesday, September 8

WEEK FOUR: 1804-1808

War, war is still the cry, 'War even to the knife!'

thumbnail bullet
WEEK FIVE: 1808-17

I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

WEEK SIX: 1817-19

Beauty is truth, truth beauty

Wednesday, September 29

Friday, October 1

WEEK SEVEN: 1819-1823

O damned vacillating state!

Wednesay, October 6

Friday, October 8


Examples of 'A' Papers in Response to the First Essay Assignment

WEEK EIGHT: 1823-1834

True genius, but true woman!

Wednesday, October 13

Friday, October 15



This world's no blot for us/ Nor blank

Friday, October 22


This is living art,/ Which thus presents, and thus records true life

Friday, October 29

WEEK ELEVEN: 1834-1847

Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices

Friday, November 5

WEEK TWELVE: 1847-1853

Dear guests, you now have seen Love's corpse-light shine

Friday, November 12


WEEK THIRTEEN: 1853-1856

This is that Lady Beauty, in whose praise/ Thy voice and hand shake still

Wednesday, November 17

Friday, November 19

WEEK FOURTEEN: 1856-1862

We have had enough of action, and of motion we

Wednesday and Friday, November 24 and 26

thumbnail detailWEEK FIFTEEN: 1862-1870

"all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Wednesday, December 1

Beardley Print

Friday, December 3


WEEK SIXTEEN: 1870-1899

I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God

Friday, December 10



Course Policies

Guide to Terms

Guide to Critical Theory

Last Revised: November 6, 2010

Paintings courtesy of
Carol L. Gerten-Jackson

Morris prints courtesy of
The William Morris Gallery