Monday, July 30, 2012

Love Poetry...Purgatory?

Getting there.

I've spent most of the day checking old syllabi and tinkering with the list of authors.  I'm thinking now that I'll cut back on the secondary reading, and try to pump up the non-Western aspect of the class just a bit, but not jettison the overall chronological structure, which always gives students a handle on the material.

Here's where I am right now with the list of authors and weeks:

Week 1:  Introductions

Wednesday:                Introduction to the class and to each other. 


Week 2:  Classical Foundations

Monday:                      Sappho, Eros, and the origins of the “Idealist” love tradition.  Read the Sappho poems and fragments posted on D2L.

Wednesday:                 Ovid; origins of the “Realist” tradition.  A selection of the "Amores" and all three parts of “The Art of Love.”

Week 3:  Jewish / Christian / Muslim Foundations

Monday:                      The Song of Songs as love song and allegory; the origins (perhaps) of companionate love.  Read pp. 3-131 in your edition, and browse the pages of line-by-line commentary when you find passages you particularly like. 
Wednesday:                 Ibn Arabi, Stations of Desire.  Read the Introduction and the poems on pages 53-75 and 105-138.  Consult the glossary in the back as you read, for helpful definitions.  (Or maybe Ibn ‘Arabi and Rumi, the "two oceans," instead.)

Weeks 4-5:  Cultures of Love

Monday                       Dante, Vita Nuova; Canto 5 of Inferno, and perhaps other parts of the Divine Comedy (by handout)

Wednesday                  NO CLASS:  Professor in UK

Monday                       The Age of Beloveds (a fascinating book about Ottoman and European love poetry, from Venice to London, during the "long 16th century"--and a chance to learn how to read and situate poems in historical / cultural contexts, to think about the uses of love poems, as well as their ideas and aesthetics)
Wednesday                  The Age of Beloveds, continued.

Weeks 6-7:  The Companionate Revolution

Monday                      Donne
Wednesday                 More Donne

Tuesday 5/2                Bradstreet, early American love poems, Whitman
Thursday 5/4               Dickinson

Week 8:  Modern(ist) Love

Tuesday 5/16              Cavafy
Thursday 5/18             Rilke 

Weeks 9-11: Love and Revolution

Tuesday 5/23              Surrealists
Thursday 5/25             Faiz

Week 10:  Love and Politics

Tuesday 5/30               Darwish
Thursday 6/1               Rich

The week I'm least comfortable with at the moment is week 8, which reduces Modernist Love to two poets, although we get a handful more in the sheaf of Surrealist work in the following week.  Still, I'm torn between really getting to know Cavafy and Rilke (which is a joy) and introducing students to a wider range of Modernist poets, including several female ones.  And I'm thinking of leaving a slot open for another poet, just in case.  

But it's a start!

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