ENGL719E - Seminar in Renaissance Literature; Lyric Theory and Early Modern Poetics


Over the past decade, the so-called “new lyric studies” has launched a lively debate about the incoherence of the lyric as a genre before the twentieth century. This course introduces students to this ongoing conversation, including readings by Virginia Jackson, Jonathan Culler, Herbert Tucker, Marjorie Perloff, and Charles Bernstein. At the same time, we will read widely in the genres of early modern English poetry that can be construed as “lyric”--by poets including Wyatt, Surrey, Gascoigne, Sidney, Lanyer, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Herrick, Herbert, and Milton--asking how they challenge later scholarly assumptions and historical narratives. And we will explore why and how leading scholarship on early modern poetry--including work by Heather Dubrow, Arthur Marotti, Roland Greene, and Collin Burrow--differs so substantially from the tenor of the current scholarly conversation in nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetics. Requirements will include weekly entries on the course blog, a seminar paper, and a 10-minute presentation drawn from the seminar paper.