SoSe 15: S-Surveying English Literatures: Imagination - Creation - Poetry
"The primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM." - "Poetry, ... read more
"The primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM." - "Poetry, in a general sense, may be defined to be 'the expression of the imagination': and poetry is connate with the origin of man." These two quotes from Coleridge's Biographia Literaria and Shelley's "Defense of Poetry" sketch the complex questions that troubled the "Romantics": how human perception interacts with creation, and how poetry grows out of, reflects on and changes this relationship. This course will engage with the "Romantics'" obsession with exploring human's place within the world via imagination and poetry. Writing poetry turns into a life project; poetry permeates life and life permeates poetry. We will trace these "Romantic" attempts at understanding and impacting the world by following the shifting constellations of imagination, creation, and poetry through introductions, notes, letters, and poetry written (and rewritten) by the "Romantics."
Active participation will require you to react actively to your reading throughout the seminar by keeping a reading journal and to submit a short paper for discussion in class. Use the term break to get a head start by reading Romantic poetry and in Coleridge's Biographia literaria (preferably in the superb edition of Coleridge's Collected Works available in the Philological Library which provides a plethora of helpful notes).