Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Metaphysical Poetry and Baroque Writing in England

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This Study-Unit combines the reading of the Metaphysical Poets, namely, the devotional verse, satires and love poetry of John Donne, and the religious poetry of George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Richard Crashaw and Henry Vaughan and Thomas Traherne, amongst others. Concurrent with this, there will be a strong focus on selected works by Philip Sidney, Cavendish, Sedley, Rochester and Aphra Behn. Selected works include Sidney's Sonnet Cycle 'Astrophil and Stella', 'Poems and Fancies' by Margaret Cavendish, selected plays by Charles Sedley, a selection of love poems by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester and, finally, 'Oroonoko' by Aphra Behn.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit are three-pronged:
1. To offer an insight into a wonderfully rich poetic legacy;
2. To enable comparative analysis among writers of different styles;
3. To introduce women writers of the seventeenth century.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Appreciate the nature of the Baroque sentiment in England and how this is expressed through poetry and drama. Compared to other European countries, the term Baroque does not normally resonate so well in England as it would in Italy, France or Spain, for instance and by the end of the study-unit the student will be able to grasp the various philosophies and styles inherent in the period which make Baroque sensibility in England differ essentially from that on the continent.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Grasp concepts that relate to the cultural/historical/literary dimension of the period discussed in lectures and seminars. By the end of the study-unit students will be in a position to recognize Baroque stylistic qualities in English writing, one that is not normally discussed in current critical debate.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Behn, A., Oroonoko (W.W. Norton & Co., 1997)
- Corns, T.N., (ed.,) The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry: Donne to Marvell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
- Etlin, R. A., In Defence of Humanism: Value in the Arts and Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
- Gill, D.J., Before Intimacy (University of Minnesota Press, 2005)
- Lowery, L., (ed.,) Culture and Change (University of Delaware Press, 2010)
- Miola, R., Early Modern Catholicism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
- Todd, J., Aphra Behn Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
- Zwicker, S.N., (ed.,) The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1650 - 1740 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2008)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Take Home Examination (2 Hours and 30 Minutes) SEM1 Yes 50%
Take Home Examination (2 Hours and 30 Minutes) SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Maria Frendo
Peter Vassallo

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.