Though we wander about,
find no honey of flowers in this waste,
is our task the less sweet--
who recall the old splendour,
await the new beauty of cities?
The city is peopled
with spirits, not ghosts, O my love:
Though they crowded between
and usurped the kiss of my mouth
their breath was your gift,
their beauty, your life.
H.D. from "Cities" (Sea Gardens)
Who knows the curious mystery of the eyesight? The other senses corroborate themselves, but this is removed from any proof but its own and foreruns the identities of the spiritual world. A single glance of it mocks all the investigations of man and all the instruments and books of the earth and all reasoning.
The great poet forms the consistence of what is to be from what has been and is. He drags the dead out of their coffins and stands them again on their feet. . . . he says to the past, Rise and walk before me that I may realize you. He learns the lesson. . . . he places himself where the future becomes present.
Walt Whitman--from Preface to Leaves of Grass
Two Packets containing much of the reading. The first one available the first day of class checks to be paid to the UB Foundation. David Hall ed., The Antinomian Controversy 1636-38. Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Ninteenth Century. Beatriz Colomina, ed. , Sexuality and Space, Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Young Goodman Brown," "The Gentle Boy," Alice Doane's Appeal," "Rappaccini's Daughter." The Marble Faun, Henry James, "The Ghostly Rental," "Maud-Evelyn," " The Turn of the Screw," What Maisie Knew, The Golden Bowl.
There will be a group of recommended but not required texts on reserve in the library. Most importantly The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson edited by Ralph Franklin.
1. A class presentation on a subject that I will assign (10-15 minutes no more no less). Although I will assign research subjects to each member of the seminar how you chose to present your research to the group is up to you. This is a poetics seminar and If you wish to take an experimental approach to your oral presentation . You are welcome to do so however you will need your strategy with me first. Keep in mind "experimental" is the process of trying or testing something. Something specific.
2. Two copies of a 1-2 page weekly written free-form response to some aspect of the material read and or discussed each week. One copy should be handed in to me at the beginning of each session, the other is for each member of the seminar.
3. A final research paper or video production due on the last day of class April 25 (latest possible due date April 30).
1. Th. 1. 25. First Lecture. Overview, intentions for the semester etc. Slides of Dickinson prose fragments and letters. Discussions of issues these slides of her manuscripts raise when we come to consider the Antinomian Controversy.
"The Poems" will ever be to me marvellous whether in manuscript or type.2. Th . 2.1. Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomian Controversy.
Susan Gilbert Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
3. Th. 2. 8. Conversion Narratives and Thomas Shepard "Autobiography."
4. Th. 2. 15. Captivity Narratives. Mary Rowlandson, Hannah Dustan (Thoreau and Mather versions).
5. Th. 2. 22. Witchcraft in NE. Trials and cases of possession. Cotton Mather, historian, minister and doctor. "Brand," "Ornaments for the daughters of Zion," exerpts from Magnalia Christi Americana.
6. Th. 2. 29. The Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards "A Faithful Narrative, "Narratives of Surprising Conversions" " Personal Narrative." Sarah Edwards Narrative of Conversion and Esther Edwards Burr, excerpts from Narrative and Journals in second packet..
7. Th. 3. 7. Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century . Hawthorne. "Young Goodman Brown," "The Gentle Boy," "Alice Doane's Appeal, " "Rappaccini's Daughter. "
8. Th. 3. 14. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun . Henry James, Hawthorne.
9. Th. 3. 28. Emily Dickinson. Alice James, excerpts from the Diary (in second packet. )
10. Th. 4. 4. Henry James, "The Ghostly Rental," "The Turn of the Screw, " "Maud-Evelyn." "The Question of our Speech. "
11. Th. 4. 11. Henry James. What Maisie Knew.
12. Th. 4. 18. Robert Duncan Conference. You should plan to go to the panels.
The dead are the departed therefrom. Whose leavings. Reading we partake of. A lamp of letters, a ladder of divine signs, a substance of ourselves lost, lost in a world lost waste lost that we must gather out. Set like a crying girl to sift cinders out of old passions. For a first fire. For a light in old age to burn in the skull that lit youth's loins? Covetous brain! But read further, read further. Beloved Shakespeare, beloved Lao Tse, beloved Virginia Woolf! My heart is submerged as I read. Above: the swarming radiance. These that I never saw I see. Below: the boundless waters. "The Human Communion. Traces"13. Th. 4. 25 The Golden Bowl . Papers due.
Gertrude Stein- from "We Came. A History. "