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August 31, 2005


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ENL 3230
British Literature 1616-1780


Class 2

    Sep 5: Post #1 Due - Group A


    Reading Assignment for 8/31- 9/14:

      NAEL volume B, The Early Seventeenth Century 1603-1660 (1235-1259)
      NAEL volume B, Literary Terminology (A41-A62)

      NAEL volume B, John Donne (1260-1263) and esp. "The Flea" (1263), "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" (1275), "The Ecstasy" (1276), "I am a Little World Made Cunningly" (1295)
      NAEL volume B, Katherine Philips (1690-1695), and esp. "Upon the Double Murder of King Charles" (1691), "To Mrs. M. A. at Parting" (1693), "On the Death of My First and Dearest Child" (1695)
      NAEL Volume B, Andrew Marvell (1695-1697), and esp. "A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body" (1681), "To His Coy Mistress" (1703), "The Garden" (1710)

      Jonathan Sawday, The Body Emblazoned Chapter 1 and 2 (see Blackboard Course Documents)

      History Timeline: Prelude, Civil Wars and Interregnum


    Class Objectives:

  • To finish close reading "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"
  • Discuss the body in early 17th century -- Sawday's Chapter 1

    For class today we will continue our focus on metaphor in John Donne's poem, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" and we will discuss Sawday's chapter one. We will pursue the question raised by Sawday: at what point does the modern Western sense of interiority "that mark of individuality" emerge? (11) I hope we can look briefly at some of Donne's other poems that explore the relationship between body and soul, such as "Air and Angels" (1270), "Love's Alchemy" (1272) and "the Ecstasy" (1276)


    Notes and Discussion Questions:

    1. Concluding "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"

    We will pursue our question -- how does Donne's poem achieve its purpose? We have established that the poem's purpose is to bid farewell to a loved one and to give her reasons for having faith in their love while the speaker is gone.

    For your posts, you may choose to analyze one of Donne's elaborate metaphors in stanzas 3-9. What is the vehicle? what is the tenor? What is the relationship between the two? What does the relationship suggest in the poem? How does it help achieve the poem's purpose?

    Also, we will return to the three discussion questions from Thursday:

    Discussion question: Based on your background reading in the history and culture of the time, what seventeenth-century concerns are apparent in this poem? Could it have been written at earlier time? At a later time?

    Discussion question: How does this poem compare with "The Flea"? With The Holy Sonnets? What similarities can you find?

    Discussion question: Based on the information in the author headnote, why might Donne choose to publish his poetry (such as this one) in manuscript as opposed to print?

    *********************

    2. Sawday, "Chapter One"

    Primarily, I am interested in hearing your response to Sawday's chapter. He establishes several important themes in this chapter that he follows throughout his book. We can examine a few of them.

    What is the Medusa myth and how does it help explain the taboo on seeing into the interior of the body?

    What is "anatomy" and how does it reflect the literary and philosophical culture he describes? Who or what gets anatomized?

    In what sense might a reader from Donne's culture have a different understanding of the "body" from our understanding of the body? How would you describe the relationship between your body and mind? How might Donne's original readers?

    What surprising or confusing things did you read in Sawday that might require further discussion?

    *********************


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