Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Swift and Pope

I've taught Swift and Burke as a seminar, and I've taught satire very regularly with Swift and Pope prominently featured, but I've never taught an undergraduate seminar under this particular rubric. There is something almost perverse about teaching a course so traditionally defined in this day and age, but I think it should be very interesting: again, this is just the course description and week-by-week readings, assignments excluded.
Intensive reading of two major writers in the satirical mode. Some topics of interest: satire as a secondary or parasitic genre; satire and political argument; satire and gender; deformed or disabled bodies; miniaturization and problems of scale; the anthropological pre-history of satire as violence (words that kill); epic versus mock-epic; tensions between orality, manuscript and print culture; the cultural and intellectual implications of the choice between tetrameter and pentameter couplets. No background in authors or period required; we will do a large amount of ‘close reading’ of primary texts, with critical readings to supplement in most weeks.

9/12 Introduction: the battle of the books

9/19 Swift, A Tale of a Tub (1704)

9/26 Swift, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity (1708, 1711)

*Samuel Johnson, life of Swift, in The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets; with Critical Observations on their Works, ed. Roger Lonsdale (Oxford: Clarendon, 2006), vol. 3, 189-214

10/3 Pope, “An Essay on Criticism” (written 1709, pub. 1711), Windsor-Forest (written 1704-13, pub. 1713)

*James McLaverty, Pope, Print, and Meaning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 1-13; *John Sitter, “Pope’s versification and voice,” in The Cambridge Companion to Alexander Pope, ed. Pat Rogers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 37-48; *Dustin Griffin, Swift and Pope: Satirists in Dialogue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 1-12

10/10 Pope, “The Rape of the Lock” (two-canto version 1712, five-canto version 1714)

*Claude Rawson, “Pope’s Waste Land: Reflections on Mock-Heroic,” in Order From Confusion Sprung: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature from Swift to Cowper (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985), 201-221

10/17 Pope, “Epistle to Miss Blount, on her leaving the Town, after the Coronation” (written 1714, pub. 1717), “Eloisa to Abelard” (written 1716, pub. 1717), “Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady” (1717); Swift, Stella poems (details TBA)

*Samuel Johnson, life of Pope, in The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets; With Critical Observations on their Works, ed. Roger Lonsdale (Oxford: Clarendon, 2006), vol. 4, 1-93

10/24 Swift, “Cadenus and Vanessa” (written 1713, pub. 1726), “The Progress of Beauty” (1719, 1728), “The Lady’s Dressing-Room” (1730, 1732), “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed” (1731, 1734)

*Ellen Pollak, The Poetics of Sexual Myth: Gender and Ideology in the Verse of Swift and Pope (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 1-21

10/31 Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

*Terry Castle, “Why the Houyhnhnms Don’t Write: Swift, Satire and the Fear of the Text,” in Critical Essays on Jonathan Swift, ed. Frank Palmeri (New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1993), 57-71

11/7 Election holiday – no class

11/14 Pope, The Dunciad Variorum (written 1719-28, pub. 1728, Variorum 1729)

*James McLaverty, “The Mode of Existence of Literary Works of Art: The Case of the Dunciad Variorum,” in Pope, ed. Brean Hammond (London and New York: Longman, 1996), 220-32; *McLaverty, “The Dunciad Variorum: The Limits of Dialogue,” in Pope, Print, and Meaning, 82-106; *Pat Rogers, “The name and nature of Dulness: proper nouns in The Dunciad,” in Essays on Pope (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 98-128

11/21 Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729), A Proposal for Giving Badges to the Beggars (1737)

*James McLaverty, “Swift and the art of political publication: hints and title pages, 1711-1714,” in Politics and Literature in the Age of Swift: English and Irish Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 116-39

11/28 Pope, “An Essay on Man” (written 1730-32, pub. 1733-34); Swift, “On Poetry: A Rapsody” (1733), “Strephon and Chloe” (1731, 1734)

12/5 Pope, “Moral Essays” (written 1730-33, pub. 1734)

*Robert C. Elliott, The Power of Satire: Magic, Ritual, Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960), 1-15; *Helen Deutsch, Resemblance and Disgrace: Alexander Pope and the Deformation of Culture (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1996), 1-39; *Blakey Vermeule, The Party of Humanity: Writing Moral Psychology in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press,2000), 57-93

12/12 Swift, “Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift” (written 1731-32, pub. 1739); Pope, “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot” (written 1731-4, pub. 1735)

*Victoria Glendinning, Jonathan Swift: A Portrait (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998), 1-15; *David Womersley, “‘now deaf 1740’: Entrapment, foreboding, and exorcism in late Swift,” in Politics and Literature in the Age of Swift, 162-84

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps I have an unimaginative mind, but the best class I took as an English undergrad was Prof. Claybaugh's class on Hawthorne and James. So there is something to be said for tradition, perhaps!