Undergraduate Course: Discourses of Desire: Sex, Gender, and the Sonnet Sequence in Tudor and Stuart England. (ENLI10298)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Generally acknowledged to be the most difficult verse form, the sonnet flourished in England from the late sixteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. While obviously poetic in form, the sonnet sequence is simultaneously a narrative. By examining the similarities and differences between the form, content and structure of sonnet sequences by Locke, Sidney, Daniel, Spenser, Shakespeare and Wroth, this course will result in an understanding of the gendered historical development of the sonnet sequence. By examining texts by both male and female authors, this course will also explore how (or if) the sex of the writer influences the way in which desire is articulated and to what extent this has political implications.
Generally acknowledged to be the most difficult verse form, the sonnet flourished in England from the late sixteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. Initially entering the English language via Wyatt and Surrey's translations of individual poems from the Italian poet Petrarch's Canzoniere, the form of the sonnet was most famously honed and adapted for English usage by Sidney, Spenser and Shakespeare. While obviously poetic in form, the sonnet sequence is simultaneously a narrative. Traditionally, the Petrarchan origins of the sonnet sequence have been perceived as establishing the conventions of the genre as the articulation of the male poet-personae's love for an absent and/or unattainable woman. While this is complicated by Shakespeare's dual audience of a 'fair youth and a dark lady', until recently it was taken for granted that women were only the recipients or objects of such literature. The ubiquity of sonnet writing famously caused Virginia Woolf to ponder the perennial puzzle of 'why no woman wrote a word of that extraordinary literature when every other man, it seemed, was capable of song or sonnet' (A Room of One's Own). Yet more recent research reveals that the first and the final such sequences in English were written by women. By examining the similarities and differences between the form, content and structure of sonnet sequences by Locke, Sidney, Daniel, Spenser, Shakespeare and Wroth, this course will result in an understanding of the gendered historical development of the sonnet sequence. By examining texts by both male and female authors, this course will also explore how (or if) the sex of the writer influences the way in which desire is articulated and to what extent this has political implications.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||A MINIMUM of 4 college/university level literature courses at grade B or above (should include no more than one introductory level literature course). Related courses such as civilisation or other interdisciplinary classes, Freshman Year Seminars or composition/creative writing classes/workshops are not considered for admissions to this course.
Applicants should also note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. In making admissions decisions preference will be given to students who achieve above the minimum requirement with the typical visiting student admitted to this course having 4 literature classes at grade A.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Section directly for admission to this course **
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the formal properties of the sonnet/sonnet sequences.
- Engage with and evaluate the historical development of the sonnet sequence in Tudor and Stuart England.
- Assess the degree to which Tudor and Stuart authorship strategies are gendered and politicised.
- Formulate arguments based on academic literature and source material.
- Tailor their arguments and findings for different audiences both orally (through discussion and presentation) and in formal academic writing.
|Burrow, Colin, ed. William Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems, Oxford UP, 2008|
Duncan-Jones, Katherine, ed. Sir Philip Sidney: The Major Works, Oxford UP, 2002
Lady Mary Wroth, ¿Mary Wroth¿s Poetry: An Electronic Edition.¿ Paul Salzman, La Trobe 15/06/2012, http://wroth.latrobe.edu.au/
Anne Vaughan Locke, A Meditation on a Penitent Sinner (1560)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Numbers are limited to 15, with priority given to students taking degrees involving English or Scottish Literature and Visiting Students placed by the Admissions Office. Students not in these categories need the written approval of the Head of English Literature before enrolling. In the case of excess applications places will be decided by ballot.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Seminar per week for 10 weeks;
plus an Autonomous Learning Group for one hour per week for 10 weeks at times to be arranged.
|Course organiser||Dr Suzanne Trill
Tel: (0131 6)50 4291
|Course secretary||Ms Sheila Strathdee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3619