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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Modern Poetry: 1922-1927 (ENLI11260)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits0 ECTS Credits0
SummaryThis course examines key publications from the golden age of High Modernist poetry. Each week we will look at an individual collection by key British and American poets of the time. Though scanning only five years, from 1922 to 1927, the course includes some of the most renowned and influential poets and poetry books of the twentieth century. In the shadow of the catastrophic First World War, all the poets were seeking an apt response to the combustible context of modernity, and the course will conduct an ongoing examination of the differing ways in which the poets challenged conventional ideas of poetry as part of an attempt to meet the changes of the modern world. We will look closely at the differing formal and stylistic innovations of each work, examining how they represented intimations of chaos on the one hand, but also ideas of order and tradition on the other. We will explore key poetic debates of the time: the nature of the poetic image; free verse; authorial "impersonality" and the poem's relationship with the reader; themes of gender and sexuality; of history and temporality; and of the convulsive politics of the time. We will focus on close readings and individual poems, but also discuss the idea of the poetry collection as an artwork, considering the design and structure of each book.
Course description Students will be expected to devote considerable individual preparation time to the close reading and re-reading of set poems each week, while also considering each week's set text as a whole. In addition, they will be expected to consult a range of supplementary and secondary material, including extracts from the poets' own critical writings. A further aim of the course is to familiarise students with the key interpretive debates inspired by modern poetry, which also provide a valuable overview of the history of twentieth-century and contemporary poetry criticism. Students will be guided towards a range of secondary material that best represents these critical debates.
The structure of reading and analysis on the course is broadly comparative: students will be asked to explore the similarities and differences between the key poems and set texts, and examine the various types of analysis made possible by the critical modes of reading to which they are introduced. The guided examination of the similarities and differences between the range of texts and approaches studied will help students to develop the analytical skills and knowledge that will be assessed in their essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students should be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of key texts of modern poetry.
  2. Students should also be able to demonstrate understanding of the major critical debates produced by modern poetry.
  3. Students should be able to demonstrate understanding of the cultural context of modern poetry.
  4. Students should be able to undertake independent critical analysis of modern poetry.
  5. Students should be able to present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond judiciously to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the chief themes of the course.
Reading List
[All texts are available online via LITERATURE ONLINE, except Mina Loy's Lunar Baedeker]

Doolittle, Hilda [H.D.]. Collected Poems 1912-1944. Ed. Louis Martz. New York: New Directions, 1983.
Eliot, T. S. Selected Poems. London: Faber, 1948.
Hughes, Langston. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Ed. Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. New York: Vintage, 1994.
Moore, Marianne. Observations. Ed. Linda Leavell. New York: Farrrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
Lawrence, D. H. Selected Poems. Ed. James Fenton. London: Penguin, 2008.
Loy, Mina. Lost Lunar Baedeker. Ed. Roger Conover. Manchester: Carcanet, 1997.
Pound, Ezra. The Cantos of Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions, 1993.
Stevens, Wallace. Selected Poems. Ed. John Serio. New York: Knopf, 2011.
Williams, Carlos William. Collected Poems Vol 1: 1909-1939. Ed. A Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan. New ed. Manchester: Carcanet, 2018.


Ayers, David. Modernism: A Short Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.
Bell, Michael. Literature, Modernism and Myth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Bornstein, George. Material Modernism: The Politics of the Page. Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Bradbury, Malcolm, and J. McFarlane (eds.). Modernism 1890-1930 (2nd ed.). London: Penguin, 1991.
Bradshaw, David and Kevin J. H. Dettmar (eds.). A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
Calinescu, Matei. Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1987.
Chinitz, David E. and Gail McDonald (eds.). A Companion to Modernist Poetry. Oxford: Blackwell, 2014.
Cook, Jon (ed.). Poetry in Theory: An Anthology 1900-2000. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.
Craig, Cairns. Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry. London: Croom Helm, 1982.
Davis, Alex, and Lee M. Jenkins (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Davis, Alex, and Lee M. Jenkins (eds.). A History of Modernist Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Emig, Rainer. Modernism in Poetry: Motivations, Structures and Limits. London: Longman, 1995.
Felski, Rita. The Gender of Modernity. Harvard UP, 1996.
Goldman, Jane. Modernism, 1910-1945: Image to Apocalypse. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Howarth, Peter. The Cambridge Introduction to Modernist Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Kenner, Hugh. The Pound Era. London: Faber, 1972.
Kermode, Frank. Romantic Image. Oxford: Routledge & Paul, 1957.
Kern, Stephen. The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918. Harvard University Press, 1983.
Kolocotroni, Vassiliki, Jane Goldman and Olga Taxidou (eds.). Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998.
Krieger, Murray. The New Apologists for Poetry. University of Minnesota Press, 1956.
Levenson, Michael. A Genealogy of Modernism: A Study of English Literary Doctrine 1880-1922. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Levenson, Michael (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Longenbach, James. Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats and Modernism. Oxford: OUP, 1988.
Miller, J. Hillis. Poets of Reality: Six 20th Century Writers. Harvard University Press, 1966.
Nicholls, Peter. Modernisms: A Literary Guide. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995.
Perkins, David. A History of Modern Poetry, Vol 1: From the 1890s to the High Modernist Mode. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1976.
Perloff, Marjorie. The Poetics of Indeterminancy: Rimbaud to Cage. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981.
Rainey, Lawrence. Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture. Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1998.
Rainey, Lawrence (ed.). Modernism: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
Ramazani, Jahan (ed.). The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. Vol 1: Modern Poetry. 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2003.
Scott, Bonnie Kime and Mary Lynn Broe (eds.) The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
Stead, C. K. Pound, Yeats, Eliot and the Modernist Movement. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1986.

[Further reading specific to each week's poet and text available on LEARN]
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Alan Gillis
Tel: (0131 6)50 3050
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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