LIT 499-07: John Donne: Rhetoric and Theory
Class Meetings: Tuesday/Friday 9:30-10:50am
John Donne’s lyric poetry is difficult, beautiful, packed with dense metaphors, and highly erotic. The sermons and meditations of his later years are transcendent and profound, yet deeply anti-semitic. These contrasts are often startling to a modern audience, but may not have been at all unusual for his early modern English audience. This course will examine his literature within the context of early modern theories of rhetoric and examine these theories within the context of contemporary cultural studies. The course will require three textbooks (a collected edition of Donne’s works and a Cambridge Companion to his works, along with the MLA Handbook), but will make use of an extensive library of critical articles and less frequently anthologized sermons, letters, and devotionals from literary archives.