Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Closing Discussion: Monday, December 2

I realize that I'll see most of you on Wednesday, November 27, for our final conversation about Milton's Paradise Lost, but I want to go ahead and post about our last class, on Monday, now.

What kind of conclusion can we possibly reach for a course that's brought together such a wide variety of poetry and prose written during a time period as politically and culturally diverse as the seventeenth century is? I think the best way to go about this is not to look for a single dominant theme or idea, but instead to think about key conflicts.

This is what I'd like you to do for our last class. At some point during the Thanksgiving Break, go back over your notes and flip back through the anthology; revisit some poems we read earlier in the course. Ask yourself this: what seems to be the defining conceptual conflict of seventeenth-century literary culture. Think hard and think creatively. A conflict of this sort can take many forms. It could be a conflict between body and soul, for example, or individuality and collectivity, or freedom and obedience, or tradition and innovation. You get the point. Come to class with a conceptual conflict in mind, and be able to talk about how that conflict manifest itself or gets treated in the work of a few different writers. This will form the substance of our Closing Discussion.

I'm really looking forward to this! (Even if it also makes me sad to think the end is nigh.)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Our Next Class: Returning to Paradise Lost

Hi, everyone. As you know, there is no class this week because of Garrett Sullivan's visit. When we meet again, next Monday (November 25), you'll have read through book 10 of Paradise Lost and completed David Norbrook's chapter in the Course Reader. (Remember to keep up! Don't leave all this stuff to the last minute!)

Here's what I'd like you to do for our next class meeting:

Please come in with one other author from our course who you think can be usefully read alongside, or put into conversation with, Paradise Lost. Be prepared to say a bit about why you thnk this is so. What theme of preoccupation, for example, makes it interesting to look at these two authors together.

This is an important exercise for two reasons. First, and most pragmatically, it will keep us in touch with seventeenth-century writing as a whole as we barrel towards the end of the course. Second, it serves our ongoing mission of understanding Milton as a writer who, while certainly possessing a singular imagination and sense of vocation, nevertheless was part of a larger literary and intellectual culture.

Looking forward to talking to you guys about this!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Garrett Sullivan at UNT: It's Coming! Don't Forget!

Don't forget about this awesome talk coming up in a couple weeks! Sullivan will also be offering a Master Class for graduate students the morning after his talk, on Friday, November 22, at 9:30 a.m. in Auditorium 103 (the conference room).  I'd like you all to be there for these events. I'll circulate some cool readings by Garrett Sullivan soon!