PS "Two Major American Poets: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson"

Dozent(in): Christina Caupert, M.A.
Termin: Donnerstag 17:30-19:00
Gebäude/Raum: 1005

Inhalt der Lehrveranstaltung:

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson belong to the most important poets of the United States. Both working during roughly the same period of time, they created highly innovative, unique poetry that differed significantly from the works of established American poets of their age, who frequently modelled their works on European literature, which they regarded as exemplary and far more advanced.

By way of contrast, Whitman considered himself the prophet of a blossoming of a truly American culture, which he thought should be based not on the European traditions but on primal forces inherent in nature itself. In rhythmical, expressive poems imbued with a tremendous optimism, he heralds his country’s democratic ideals, which he tries to put into practice by integrating all spheres of life, including marginalized or destructive ones, into one great design.

Dickinson, on the other hand, totally withdrew into herself and wrote unwieldy, difficult poems she shared with hardly anybody in her lifetime – when she died, only 7 of her over 1,700 poems had been published. In a language often enigmatic and carried by a reserved, hesitant rhythm, she scrutinizes what is paradox, absent or denied. Her works are filled with a dark passion and subliminal energy which finds its outlet in the poems themselves.

Although the two poets could hardly be more different in many respects, they do also have a common ground, e.g. the central role of the subject in their poetry, their sometimes explicit incorporation of eros and the body, which is in conflict with Victorian attitudes towards morality, or their unusual view of death. In the seminar we will try, by means of a close reading of selected poems, to do justice to both poets – individually as well as in comparison with each other.

Vorkenntnis für die Lehrveranstaltung:

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen: introductory course

Anforderungen fürden Scheinerwerb: regular attendance, short presentation, term paper

Literatur zur Lehrveranstaltung:

Dickinson, Emily. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1976.

Whitman, Walt. The Complete Poems. Ed. Francis Murphy. New York: Penguin, 2005.

weitere Informationen zu der Lehrveranstaltung:

empfohlenes Studiensemester der Lehrveranstaltung: Grundstudium
Fachrichtung Lehrveranstaltung: Amerikanistik (Magister), Englisch (Lehramt)
Nummer der Lehrveranstaltung: 05 293
Beginn der Lehrveranstaltung: 19. April 2007
Dauer der Lehrveranstaltung: 2 SWS
Typ der Lehrveranstaltung: PS - Proseminar
Semester: SS 2007