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

Postgraduate Course: Poetry and the English Question: Voice and Belonging in Modern and Contemporary Verse (ENLI11259)

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 Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEngland has a problem - and the problem is England itself. Since the end of empire the often unspoken question of what England is, and who it is for, has caused obvious political trouble for England, Britain and the rest of Europe. But this English Question has a cultural dimension too - one in which poets have frequently found themselves entangled. This course explores how writing by a range of poets variously born, raised or living in England has been shaped by the cultural condition of the nation in which they work. It examines the ways in which this poetry's engagement with key elements such as voice, place, language and belonging articulates, and speaks back to, the condition of England.
Course description This course examines the ways in which a range of key aspects of poetry - voice, language, identity, place, belonging - are refracted through the social and cultural conditions of post-imperial England in the writing of a diverse range of poets from the 1960s to the 2010s. Beginning with different local responses to international modernism, the course explores the work of nine poets whose relation to English tradition and authority in the development of their work is variously intimate, oblique or explicitly oppositional.

Seminars and Autonomous Learning Groups will address these key thematic concerns, while also focusing on the distinctive forms, styles and techniques developed by poets seeking to find their own place in an English literary culture not always alert to its own scope, limitations and power dynamics. Each week will focus on one poet, represented either by a key collection or by a selection from their work. The poets are Basil Bunting, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Tony Harrison, Denise Riley, Jo Shapcott, Benjamin Zephaniah, Alice Oswald and Daljit Nagra.

The key critical approach will be close textual analysis, informed by relevant critical and contextual reading and collaborative preparation in response to questions posed by the course leader. Written coursework will focus on informed textual analysis and the presentation of contextual understanding of the work studied.
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. show a good knowledge of the poets and poetry studied
  2. identify and analyse the style and prosodic details of the poetry studied
  3. assess relevant critical controversies surrounding some of these bodies of work
  4. demonstrate a familiarity with relevant aspects of the postwar 'English question'
  5. demonstrate an ability to undertake independent research into the course material
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf James Loxley
Tel: (0131 6)50 3610
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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