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EN2E6/EN3E6 Poetry and Emotion

Not running 2022-2023

This module explores the idea and expression of emotion in poetry and poetics from 1780 to the present. It is framed by two debates current in literary criticism.

The first is the status of 'lyric' poetry: is lyric a quality, category, or aesthetic ideal of poetry? How do poets translate everyday experience into the lyric? What are the material conditions that shape the lyric from William Wordsworth's reading of poetry as feeling to Jennifer Moxley's definition of the 'poet's emotional signature'?

The module's second frame is the 'affective turn', a phrase used in literary criticism, philosophy, history, geography and cultural studies to describe a renewed interest in how affect and emotion help us understand experience, being and society. The module explores the ambivalent relationship between literary criticism and affect: are sentiment and emotion key to reading, or do they threaten to eclipse the discipline and rigour of literary critical thinking?