E 392M • Donne: Craft & Context Beyond the Buzz Words
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Some familiar John Donne buzz words: wit, sex, misogyny. The twentieth-century Donne was an apostate rake, saved by the love of a good woman and turned into an agonized religious introspective. Although providing a certain amount of salacious pleasure for the common reader and a venue for expansive critical ego, this view has largely been discarded for one of Donne as a craftsman very much involved in Renaissance literary practice and an Englishman very much involved in England's often precarious political, religious, and social milieu.
The course will entail reading Donne's complete English poetic corpus, where possible employing the recent volumes of the Donne Variorum in publication at class time, with the issues they raise on Donne's critical reception and textual transmission. Selections from the prose will also be assigned.
While the course relies theoretically Renaissance Augustinian poetics, exploration of Donne position in modern criticism and cultural studies is welcome. Especial attention will be devoted to developing research skills and to perfecting the student's professional writing.
The John Donne Variorum, supplemented by Shawcross, The Complete Poetry of John Donne.