Readings in Nineteenth-century British Literature and Culture (Post-1800)

L627 — Spring 2020

Monique Morgan
Days and Times
11:15a - 12:30p TR (4 CR.)
Course Description

TOPIC: New Formalism(s) and Nineteenth-Century Poetry

In the 1990s, literary critics began calling for renewed attention to poetic form, while incorporating the methods and the political stakes of New Historicism and cultural studies. This movement is now known as New Formalism, and it paved the way for a broader resurgence in formalist approaches. This course will focus on New Formalist criticism and a range of other recent formalist work, especially as it relates to contemporary debates about “The Way We Read Now” (to borrow the title of a special issue of Representations), and about the future of nineteenth-century studies. To contextualize these recent movements, we will also study earlier formalisms, including New Criticism, Deconstruction, and Russian Formalism. Criticism will be paired with a broad range of Romantic and Victorian poetry by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Gordon Byron, John Keats, Felicia Hemans, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, George Meredith, Amy Levy, and Augusta Webster. For those students who are primarily interested in the novel, fear not. Because we will consider “form” at several levels and scales, including not only figurative language and meter, but also genre and narrative structure, many of the formalist methodologies we’ll study will be applicable to the novel. Evaluation will be based on attendance and participation, two short (4-5 pgs) papers that each respond to a specific reading, a conference paper (10 pgs) due at the end of term, and an abstract and bibliography in preparation for the conference paper. The class will coordinate with visiting speakers events by Melissa Valiska Gregory and Ryan Fong; we will read some of their recent work and will attend their talks.

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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