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Department: English Studies
ELEGY: FROM JOHN MILTON TO SEAMUS HEANEY
||Available in 2019/20
Excluded Combination of Modules
- To provide an advanced study of a single poetic genre, drawing on critical and theoretical procedures appropriate to the level of which it is designed. It will build on the knowledge of literary history and the analytical skills acquired by students at undergraduate level, gradually extending the scope of historical enquiry and intensifying the critical process. The module will consider the ways in which classical elegiac conventions have been adopted and modified by British, Irish and American poets, including Milton, Shelley, Tennyson, Hardy, Yeats, Heaney, Lowell and Plath.
- The module will open with John Milton's 'Lycidas', generally acknowledged as the first great English (and Christian) elegy, and it will proceed in subsequent weeks to the study of other well-established canonical texts, including Shelley's 'Adonais' and Tennyson's 'In Memoriam'. Developments in elegiac writing in the twentieth century will be well represented by Thomas Hardy's 'Poems of 1912-13' and Poems by W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Douglas Dunn and Tony Harrison. Studies of modern Irish elegies by W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney will provide an opportunity for students to think about the shaping pressures of political conflict on poetic composition, while the exploration of elegies by Walt Whitman, Edward Arlington Robinson, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and Amy Clampitt will lead to further discussion about language, identity and nationality in elegiac writing. The module content will also include extensive reference to relevant critical works, such as Peter Sacks' The English Elegy: Studies in the Genre from Spenser to Yeats and Jahan Ramazani's Poetry of Mourning: The Modern Elegy from Hardy to Heaney.
- Students should have a comprehensive knowledge of the origins and development of elegiac poetry in English, a sophisticated critical awareness of current theoretical debates about poetic inspiration and poetic consolation, and an ability to speak and write persuasively about specific literary works and their generic conventions.
Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to
the learning outcomes of the module
- Intensive seminar teaching is intended to promote high standards of intellectual enquiry and critical debate, based on extensive reading of primary and secondary texts. Assessment in the form of written assignments is designed to encourage and measure the quality and extent of independent judgement and argument.
- Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.
Teaching Methods and Contact Hours
||weekly in Epiphany Term
|Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor
|Preparation and Reading
||Component Weighting: 100%
||Length / duration
|One summative essay
|One summative essay
■ Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University
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