English 264. Literature of the Victorian Period. Topic for 1987: Victorian Poetic Texts and Hypertext [Graduate Seminar]

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

Issues and points of departure: What is a text and how does it relate to the material conditions of its production and continuing existence? Specifically, how does one approach Victorian texts that characteristically exist in flux and in dialogic relationships with contemporary audiences?. What is Victorian-- a stylistic term? a mere period term? What relationships exist among the Victorian poem and its various contexts? and to what extent can a poem provide or generate its own contexts? What is hypertext and how will this help us understand Victorian poetic texts?

Assignments: The poems listed below provide the skeleton of your reading. After reading them, explore the author's collected works. Secondary materials are listed and in some cases described on Intermedia. Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due on Friday at 3PM of the week listed.

Week 1 (Tuesday, 31 January) Introductory Session: Victorian Texts and Hypertext. Begin reading the following: Richard Altick, Victorian People and Ideas and the following works on hypertext and print-technology: Jeff Conklin," "Hypertext: An Introduction and Survey; G. P. Landow, "Hypertext in Literary Criticism, Education, and Scholarship;" G. P. Landow, "Relationally Encoded Links and the Rhetoric of Hypertext;" McCluhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy; Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy; Nicole Yankelovich, et al; "Reading and Writing the Electronic Book."

Week 2 (Tuesday, 7 February) Tennyson, Poetic Revision and Poetic Form(s): "The Kraken," "Mariana," "Mariana in the South," "The Palace of Art" [text], "The Lady of Shalott" [text], "The Two Voices," "Tithonus," "Ulysses," "Will Waterproof's Lyrical Monologue," "The Lotus Eaters," "Supposed Confessions of a Second-Rate Sensitive Mind."

Intermedia assignment due Friday at 3 PM.

Week 3 (Tuesday, 14 February) Tennyson, Intertextuality, Intratextuality, and a Poetry of Fragments: "In Memoriam".

Second Intermedia assignment due Friday, 12 February, at 3 pm.

Week 4 (Tuesday, 21 February) Tennyson, Another Version of the Long Poem: "The Idylls of the King".

Week 5 (Tuesday, 28 February) Browning, The Growth of the Dramatic Monologue: "Pauline," "Porpyhria's Lover," "My Last Duchess," "Count Gismond," "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed's," "Cleon," "Bishop Blougram's Apology," "Karshish," "Saul."

Third assignment due Friday at the usual time: 5-7 pp. paper charting the experience of reading "Bishop Bloughram's Apology."

Week 6 (Tuesday, 7 March) Browning (and others): "Caliban Upon Setebos," "How It Strikes a Contemporary," "Child Roland to the Dark Tower Came," "Two in the Compagna," "Pictor Ignotus," "Fra Lippo Lippi," "Andrea del Sarto," "Old Pictures in Florence," D. G.Rossetti's "The Blessed Damozel," "Jenny;" Swinburne, "Hymn to Proserpine," Eliot's "Journey of the Magi," "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

Week 7 (Tuesday, 14 March) Browning, The Victorian Long Poem (II); or Justifying God's Ways to Man: "The Ring and the Book".

Week 8 (Tuesday, 21 March) Christina Rossetti. Read all works in anthology and start reading through Crump (on reserve). Week 9 (Tuesday, 4 April) Christina Rossetti and Victorian Death Poetry

Intermedia exercise on individual poem of CR, due Friday, 25 March. Week 10 (Tuesday, 11 April) A. C. Swinburne. Sex and Politics, Sexual Politics: "Laus Veneris," "The Triumph of Time," "Dolores," "Hymn to Prosperine" [text], "Anactoria," "On the Russian Persecution of the Jews," "Hertha," "Mater Dolorosa," "Tiresias," and Dirae.

Intermedia exercise on individual poem of ACS.

Week 11 (Tuesday, 18 April) A. C. Swinburne. The Later Landscape Poetry: "On the Downs," "A Foresaken Garden," "Evening on the Broads" [text], "By the North Sea," "Ave Atque Vale," "Thalassius," "On the Cliffs," "A Nympholept," "The Lake of Gaube."

Week 12 (Tuesday, 25 April) Hopkins (and others), Complete Poems. Intermedia exercise on individual poem of GMH.

Week 13 (Tuesday, 2 May) Hopkins and the Victorian Elegy: The Wreck of "The Deutchland". If you don't know them, acquaint yourself with "Lycidas," "Adonais," "Thrysis," Whitman's poems on the death of Lincoln, and so on.

Week 14 (Tuesday, 9 May)

Term paper due during reading period


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Last modified 1 January 2002