ENGLISH 635 - Topics in Poetry
Section: 001 History of the Sonnet
Term: FA 2017
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
With permission of department.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing and permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

No single lyric form has compelled more poets or enchanted more readers in the English speaking world than has the ostensibly modest fourteen-line poem we know as the sonnet. Since its inception in the 13th century Sicilian court, the sonnet has proven to be a remarkably flexible instrument for exploring the depths and parameters of erotic devotion (Dante, Petrarch, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Browning), religious passion (Donne, Milton, Herbert, Hopkins), aesthetic contemplation (Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats), and that elusive phenomenon we refer to as subjectivity (all of the above). William Meredith and Gwendolyn Brooks have tested its limits in war poems. Seamus Heaney and Muriel Rukeyser have explored the sonnet as a vehicle for elegy. Wilfred Owen and Robert Hayden, like Milton before them, have recruited its powers of distillation for ringing political testimony. Countless modern and contemporary poets, including those who work primarily in “free” verse, have embraced the sonnet as a litmus test for poetic vocation. We will read broadly in the history of the sonnet, beginning with Dante and Petrarch in translation and continuing through to the twenty-first century. This course is designed to be a forum in which students of many periods, both doctoral students and creative writing students alike, can share and benefit from one another’s expertise. Final written assignments will include options for those who wish to work in sonnet form themselves rather than producing an analytical essay.

ENGLISH 635 - Topics in Poetry
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780521735537
The Cambridge companion to the sonnet, Author: ed. by A.D. Cousins and Peter Howarth., Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press 1. publ. 2011
ISBN: 9780140589290
The Penguin book of the sonnet : 500 years of a classic tradition in English, Author: edited by Phillis Levin., Publisher: Penguin 1. publ. 2002
ISBN: 9780674663480
Petrarch's lyric poems : the Rime sparse and other lyrics, Author: translated and edited by Robert M. Durling., Publisher: Harvard University Press 1979
ISBN: 9780967912110
Sir Philip Sidney's an apology for poetry, and, Astrophil and Stella : texts and contexts, Author: Sir Philip Sidney ; edited by Peter C. Herman., Publisher: College Pub. 1st ed. 2001
ISBN: 9780300085068
Shakespeare's sonnets, Author: ed. with analytic commentary by Stephen Booth., Publisher: Yale Univ. Press 1. publ. a 2000
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