English | Seminar: Literary Form, Mode, and Theme
L460 | 27754 | Herbert Marks


L460 27754 SEMINAR:  LITERARY FORM, MODE, AND THEME
Herbert Marks

6:30p-9:00p TR (10 students) 3 cr.

SECTION MEETS WITH CMLT C400.  MEETS SECOND EIGHT WEEKS ONLY.

TOPIC:  "Wallace Stevens and the Theory of Poetry"

What did Stevens mean by his famous line, "the theory of poetry [is]
the life of poetry"? This seminar will explore that question through
the study of Stevens' own work and the work of a few of the
nineteenth-century writers, in particular Emerson, Nietzsche,
Mallarmé, and the English Romantics, whose ideas informed his own.
Students will have the opportunity to read the entirety of Stevens's
published writing, but seminar sessions will be devoted to
discussing a limited number of texts, including the great long
poems, "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction" and "The Auroras of Autumn."
Caveat:  Stevens' work is often difficult, and the difficulty
(unlike the difficulty of, say, Eliot or Joyce) only increases on
further acquaintance. That said, no other twentieth-century poet
writing in English can teach us more or (to my mind, at least)
afford us more pleasure.

Requirements: one seminar presentation and a final paper. There is
no formal prerequisite but previous study (read, an informed love)
of English or European poetry will be assumed. Students who wish to
begin before the first session should simply start reading through
Stevens's poems.