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ENL 3230
British Literature 1616-1780


Class 6

    Sep 14:
      Post #3 Due - Group B


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 Discuss "Dialogue between the Body and the Soul" (1681) and "To His Coy Mistress" (1703)
  • introduce literary terms: dialogue, motif, imagery, tone.

    We will discuss the posts on Sawday from Tuesday's class, especially in relation to Marvell's poem "A Dialogue", and we will answer any questions raised by the library orientation and in reference to the paper due on Sept. 19. Then we will discuss two poems by Marvell.


    Notes and Discussion Questions:

    1. Andrew Marvell

    I've asked you to focus on two very different poems by Marvell to emphasize his range of subject and poetic control. For both, I would like you to analyze the tone of the poems. Marvell's tone is elusive, and it is key to understanding the complexity of the poems.

    Dialogue between the Body and the Soul

    As with all the poems, try to identify answers to the same set of questions we brought to Donne's poem: what does it say? Who is the speaker? What is the occasion? What is the purpose? How does it achieve the purpose?

    In this case we have two speakers. Who are they? What are they discussing?

    Why might the "dialogue" be an appropriate form or genre for this poem? What philosophical issues does the poem address?

    We will pick up our discussion of this poem with the posts from Tuesday that discuss Sawday's reading.

    "To His Coy Mistress"

    Note the use of hyperbole in the first stanza. What is the effect of these statements? What does this stanza establish as the subject of the poem? Note also the role of time and space "world enough and time" and examine how the poem develops around these motifs.

    How does the poem change at line 21? As suggested in Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" the theme of memento mori (a reminder that we shall all die) leads to something of a carpe diem theme (seize the day). What is the relationship between these two themes? How does Marvell present these themes in the two remaining stanzas?

    Note the imagery used to describe the lovers in the last stanza: amorous birds of prey, devouring time, rolling all pleasure and sweetness into a ball that tears "with rough strife" through the "iron gates of life". How seductive is this picture? What is the tone of this final stanza?

    Given the ambivalence of the poem, what do you think the purpose of the poem is? (Note: not everyone will agree on this. Please offer some analysis of the poem in support of your answer.)

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