ENGL 105
Poetry and Magic Fall 2009
Division I Writing Skills
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Ancient Celtic texts–Irish and Welsh–associate the poet (meaning any creator of fiction) with powerful magic–with shape-shifting, access to the other-world, and visions of transcendent authority and truth. Plato, in his famous condemnation of poetry in The Republic, also associates poetry with magic, but with magic as a con game or sleight-of-hand trick. This course will use Plato and Celtic texts to establish a theoretical framework for reading and interpreting the representation of poetry and magic in a variety of literary works from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The goal of the course is to develop effective reading and writing strategies for works of different genres and time periods. Reading will include Chaucer’s Friar’s Tale (where the poet-figure is a devil); Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (where the poet-figure sells his soul to the devil for magical power); Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest (where fairies and magic represent the positive power of imagination); and short poems by Coleridge, Keats, Tennyson, and Yeats.
The Class: Format: discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1603
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: a mix of writing assignments, formal and informal, totaling about 25 pages; students will be evaluated on writing and class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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