ENGL 304
Prophecy, Poetry, and Property in the Radical Seventeenth Century
Last Offered Spring 2024
Division I
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

This course offers a study of seventeenth-century poetry and prose in a prophetic strain, with a particular (though not exclusive) attention to writing by women, from Aemilia Lanyer to Anna Trapnell to Anne Bradstreet. How did these writers mobilize the resources of ritual and scripture to criticize and remake the world? In what ways did religious devotion, erotic passion, and dream inform political thinking and shape the public sphere? We’ll consider the relationship between intimate feeling, apocalyptic desire, and the material realities of a burgeoning British empire–enclosure, dispossession, transatlantic enslavement. As prophetic modes overlap with and inflect controversies such as the querelle des femmes, the witch hunt, and the execution of Charles I, we’ll interrogate the construction and deconstruction of social identities. Thus a collateral concern will be recent critical approaches to the early modern category of “woman”–in Black feminism, queer studies, and Marxist-feminism. Throughout our inquiry, we’ll take seriously the claim that the seventeenth century was “radical”–in the sense of enacting a “departure from what is usual or traditional” and in the sense of being the “root, basis, or foundation” of a modernity we are still living in and through (see Oxford English Dictionary, “radical” def. 7c and def. 2).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3936
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Two 8-page papers (one at midterm and one final); maintenance of a reading journal or "commonplace book"; regular discussion posts; brief collaborative research exercises; and a creative response.
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English Majors
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories A

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