English | Renaissance Poetry & Prose
L730 | 26977 | J Anderson

L730  26977   J ANDERSON (#2)
Renaissance Poetry & Prose

12:20p  3:20p W


Born eight years apart, Shakespeare and Donne were contemporaries in
Elizabethan and Jacobean London.  The youthful Donne was noted to
have been Aa great frequenter of Playes@ and subsequently a
celebrated performer himself as a preacher of sermons at St. Paul=s
and in other London venues.  For both men, the religious ferment of
the time was arguably intensified by their being apostate sons of
Catholic parents.  Their writings offer especially striking early
modern perspectives on identity and subjectivity, the body and the
passions, the economic and political body, philosophy, belief,
ethics, and skepticism.  Of course there are other Important kinds
of intersections between them: language and rhetoricCpunning, for a
conspicuous example; perspective, including anamorphism, and
symbolism; significant forms such as lyric, narrative, dramatic
monologue, and modes such as pastoral and satire.

Surprisingly, these contemporary writers have seldom been studied
togetherCin itself a phenomenon that is at once historically and
theoretically suggestive and reason enough to pair them to see what
happens.  This is what I want to do.  Rather than bringing a single
generic or thematic focus to the contextualized writings of
Shakespeare and Donne, this seminar will use the writings of either
as a kind of lens for those of the other and follow the radiating
connections that develop.  There is much room for original discovery
here, as well as for study in depth.

The research essay of article length (20-25 pages) that is the norm
in a seminar will be so in this one.  There will also be room for
alternative critical/theoretical writing, such as two essays of
conference length, if this is better suited to the background and
interests of some students.  Expect reports and other activities as

I=m still brooding about which Shakespeare and Donne texts, but
Donne=s will include both prose and poetry, and Shakespeare=s will
include both poems and plays.  I=ll want participants to have the
same editions when we meet.  I=m on sabbatical this term, but feel
free to email me about texts later in the semester, if you want to
purchase them early.  (These writers are both sufficiently popular
that our bookstores and the online sources will likely stock second-
hand copies of most relevant texts.)