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First assessed essay


Your essay should ideally focus on specific poems to illustrate the argument you plan to develop. You are welcome to work on only one poet, but you are advised not to write on any more than three poets. Questions referring to specific poets can be answered in relation to any poet/s on the module.

Please see my guide to essay writing here (PDF Document)


1. OPEN QUESTION: you are welcome to develop a title of your own; please confirm with me by the Monday of term 1, week 10.

2. Housman's attempt to explore feeling in his essays on poetry were branded 'feminine'. Explore the feminization of emotion.

3. Wordsworth suggests that poetry is the 'spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion', but presents the experience of this as communal, rather than individual. Discuss.

4. Write an essay on the relationship between form and feeling.

5. Write an essay on the relationship between religious emotion and religious experience.

6. 'It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living' (Rilke). Discuss.

7. For the critic Constance Hassett, Rossettian emotion is 'patient' and 'slow'. Are patience and slowness 'emotions'? Discuss.

8. Do you agree with Isobel Armstrong's statement that 'feeling cannot represent itself'?

9. Many of the poets discussed in term 1 use poetic writing to record the experience of everyday or commonplace life. Write an essay on the affective content of everyday life.

10. Write an essay on the relationship between affect and the weather and/or environment.

11. Swinburne depicts sensation by playing with the distinction between pleasure and pain. Discuss.

12. Explore the relationship between mood and emotion.