I have a pretty clear idea of what went wrong in my Jewish lit class on Tuesday, so I'll straighten that out today. Too much time on what students thought was a minor, secondary reading, and a bit too much "let's tease this out through discussion" (my usual mode) when a crisper introductory mini-lecture would have done the job and brought us to the primary text more expeditiously. That's what I'll try today--we'll see how it goes. I love the primary text (Alicia Ostriker's the volcano sequence) and know it quite well, so if I lecture through the tentative first few pages and get to the less-elusive poems farther in, we'll be in good shape.
In 220 (Reading Poetry) a lot of treats today: Anne Bradstreet, Andrew Marvell, Aphra Behn, and John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, "The Libertine." We'll never get to all of them--but then, part of the fun will be giving the poems teasing glances and peripheral approaches, so that students get to finish the job themselves in subsequent papers.
Here's Johnny Depp as the least reformed of Restoration Rakes:
And one of our texts for the day--a fitting companion to the picture, methinks:
The Disabled DebaucheeHow about those initial trochaic inversions, eh? (And a few medial spondees. Rowr!)As some brave admiral, in former warDeprived of force, but pressed with courage still,Two rival fleets appearing from afar,Crawls to the top of an adjacent hill;From whence, with thoughts full of concern, he viewsThe wise and daring conduct of the fight,Whilst each bold action to his mind renewsHis present glory and his past delight;From his fierce eyes flashes of fire he throws,As from black clouds when lightning breaks away;Transported, thinks himself amidst the foes,And absent, yet enjoys the bloody day;So, when my days of impotence approach,And I’m by pox and wine’s unlucky chanceForced from the pleasing billows of debauchOn the dull shore of lazy temperance,My pains at least some respite shall affordWhile I behold the battles you maintainWhen fleets of glasses sail about the board,From whose broadsides volleys of wit shall rain.Nor let the sight of honorable scars,Which my too forward valor did procure,Frighten new-listed soldiers from the wars:Past joys have more than paid what I endure.Should any youth (worth being drunk) prove nice,And from his fair inviter meanly shrink,’Twill please the ghost of my departed viceIf, at my counsel, he repent and drink.Or should some cold-complexioned sot forbid,With his dull morals, our bold night-alarms,I’ll fire his blood by telling what I didWhen I was strong and able to bear arms.I’ll tell of whores attacked, their lords at home;Bawds’ quarters beaten up, and fortress won;Windows demolished, watches overcome;And handsome ills by my contrivance done.Nor shall our love-fits, Chloris, be forgot,When each the well-looked linkboy strove t’ enjoy,And the best kiss was the deciding lotWhether the boy fucked you, or I the boy.With tales like these I will such thoughts inspireAs to important mischief shall incline:I’ll make him long some ancient church to fire,And fear no lewdness he’s called to by wine.Thus, statesmanlike, I’ll saucily impose,And safe from action, valiantly advise;Sheltered in impotence, urge you to blows,And being good for nothing else, be wise.