What is the course about?
Keats’s debt to Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton is widely acknowledged. However, the influence of several of his more immediate forebears was also of significance in shaping what we now think of as characteristically Keatsian themes and diction. We shall look closely at the work of five poets whose productions are worthy of attention in their own right, and also because of the ways in which they anticipate Keats’s oeuvre.
What will we cover?
We shall consider a selection of relevant texts by Thomas Gray, William Collins, Mark Akenside, and Joseph and Thomas Warton.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Demonstrate insight into the work of several comparatively neglected eighteenth-century poets.
Appreciate the distinctive qualities that they developed in their poetry.
Identify how their poetry foreshadows that of Keats.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No particular prior knowledge will be assumed, but you will need to feel enthusiastic about the prospect of reading and discussing the work of these poets, and in reflecting on their relationship to Keats. You will interested in listening to – and learning from – the responses of other students to the work discussed.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Teacher explanation; group discussion.
Peter Brennan is a poet, and was for many years Head of English at The Latymer School, Edmonton. He founded Visionary Company courses in 2005, and is Editor-in-Chief of Perdika Press.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No. You will be provided with photocopies of the poems to be studied. Bring a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other poetry courses on www.citylit.ac.uk under History, Culture and Writing and under Humanities in the prospectus.