ENGLISH 398 - Junior Seminar in English Studies
Fall 2021, Section 002 - John Donne and Metaphysical Poetry
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


This course will be devoted to a kind of poetry frequently described as metaphysical because of its metaphorical ingenuity and argumentative erudition. We will begin with a thorough investigation of the fascinating career and riveting poetry of John Donne (1572-1631), usually imagined as the progenitor of the metaphysical style. Possessed of a voracious curiosity and a remarkable ability to apprehend startling connections among disparate realms of experience, Donne is the author of some of the finest, and most enduring, lyrics in the English language. We will spend the first half of the class learning to read these remarkable poems. Then we will explore the ways in which Donne’s influence is dispersed over the course of the seventeenth century, and beyond. This will lead us to examine the compelling work of several English poets, including Mary Wroth, George Herbert, Aemilia Lanyer, Robert Herrick, Andrew Marvell, Henry Vaughan, Thomas Traherne, and Katherine Philips. These poets produce some of the most intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying poetry in English. We will conclude by thinking about the ways that metaphysical poetry has been assimilated by twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry. I would argue that these voices from the past now speak to our anxious century with renewed cogency and power.


ENGLISH 398 - Junior Seminar in English Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
003 (SEM)
 In Person
W 2:00PM - 5:00PM

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