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Summer reading

Reading for this module is provided. If you would like to prepare for the module, have a look at some of the recommended online resources and/or the following:


During the module, we’ll read a range of poets. We do focus, however, on eight writers: William Wordsworth, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Christina Rossetti, Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke, e. e. cummings and Elizabeth Jennings. I suggest reading some extracts from their work online, working out who particularly interests you, and then finding an edition of their poetry and reading through it.

Any edition of their work is fine. If you want a recommendation, though, I would suggest the following:

William Wordsworth: the major works, ed. Stephen Gill (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters (Library of America edition, 2008)
Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays (Library of America edition, 1995)
Christina Rossetti: Poems and Prose, ed. Simon Humphries (Oxford World Classics, 2008)
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time: The Way by Swann’s, trans. Lydia Davis (Penguin, 2003)
Ahead of all Parting: the Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Random House, 1995)
Complete Poems, 1904-1962 by e e cummings (W. W. Norton, 1994)
Elizabeth Jennings, New Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2002)

Background reading

On emotion, have a look at one or two of the following:

James Elkins, Pictures and Tears: a history of people who have cried in front of paintings (London: Routledge, 2004)
Daniel M. Gross, The Secret History of Emotion: From Aristotle's Rhetoric to Modern Brain Science (2006)    
Emma Mason and Isobel Armstrong, ed., 'Languages of Emotion,' Textual Practice, 22.1 (2008) [also online]
Jenefer Robinson, Deeper than Reason: Emotion and its role in Literature, Music and Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
Martha Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions (2001)
Robert C. Soloman, The Passions: Emotions and the Meaning of Life (1976)
Rei Terada, Feeling in Theory: Emotion after the ‘Death of the Subject’ (2001)
Richard Wollheim, On the Emotions (1999)

For an introduction to poetics:

Reginald Gibbons, ed., The Poet's Work: 29 Poets on the Origins and Practice of their Art (1979)
William Harmon, ed., Classic Writings on Poetry (2003)
W.N. Herbert and Matthew Hollis, ed., Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (2000)
Jon Cook, ed., Poetry in Theory: an Anthology 1900-2000 (2004)

For help on how to read poetry:

Alex Preminger, ed., The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993)
Rhian Williams, The Poetry Toolkit: The Essential Guide to Studying Poetry (2009)


e. e. cummings, Self-Portrait with Sketch Pad (1939)