The Poetry of the Past
General Catalog Course Title:
The Poetry of the Past
Terms Offered:
Spring 2013

The objects of study in this course are ancient, medieval, and early modern poems that not only describe past events, but in doing so also formulate specific and often surprising conceptions of the past through the manipulation of poetic form.  We will reflect simultaneously on the aesthetic effect of these poems and on their valence in the social, political, and material contexts in which they were produced and reproduced.  Our goal will be to trace form's change or endurance over time, as well as to understand the meaning and effect of specific formal conventions and the particular conceptions of the past they generate.  Since our topic spans the concerns of both historicist and formalist literary criticism, we will also spend some time learning and applying the reading and research practices of each “school.”  The primary readings for the course will be historical poems that take up the matter of Troy, supplemented by secondary readings on the history and form of individual works, as well as essays and articles on the historicist and formalist methodologies.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.