English Poetry of the Thirties: T.S. Eliot to Dylan Thomas

Course Dates: 05/06/21 - 12/06/21
Time: 13:30 - 16:00
Location: Online
Wedged between the two wars, the poets of the 1930s were drawn to forces larger than themselves. For poets such as W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice, war, revolution and the allure of communism dwarfed mere personal anxieties. Others – such as William Empson, Kathleen Raine and Dylan Thomas – found a seam of spiritualism in other, more mystical, even Romantic antecedents. Our course traces these discrepant paths through the decade.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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183831
Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00

Course Code: HLT225

Sat, day, 05 Jun - 12 Jun '21

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online literature course concerns the poetry of the 1930s. “It is rare for a decade to be so self-conscious,” writes the critic Robin Skelton. The drama of the decade makes it difficult to distinguish in the mannered style of the Thirties poets earnest feeling from burlesque, but these poets had plenty to write home about: children of the First World War, shaped by the Great Depression, their political commitments were various and strongly held. Under the ambient influence above all of T.S. Eliot, most of these poets belonged to a loosely defined movement dominated instead by W.H. Auden, whose curling voice, revolutionary commitments, intricate intelligence and mastery of poetic forms made him an unavoidable object of imitation.

Tutor biography:
Phoebe Braithwaite is a PhD student in English at Harvard University and her work focuses on the influence of the intellectual Stuart Hall and the tradition of British Cultural Studies. She has taught courses on nonfiction, contemporary literature, and poetry.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The themes that tended to obsess poets writing in the Britain of the nineteen thirties were those of commun(ali)sm and war – themes that joined in the Spanish Civil War, in which many of them went to fight. The course is concerned both with those poets who “joined up” and those of more Romantic stripes. Our reading will include, but not be limited to, poems such as: William Empson, “Missing Dates” and “To an Old Lady,” Stephen Spender, “Easter Monday,” “The Pylons”, Louis MacNeice, “Sunlight on the Garden” “London Rain” “Birmingham,” W.H. Auden, “Spain” “September 1, 1939” “Lullaby,” Cecil Day Lewis, “Newsreel,” T.S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday” “Marina.” Kathleen Raine, Stone and Flower, Nancy Cunard, “To Eat To-Day,” Stevie Smith, “The Octopus,” Dylan Thomas, “The Force that Through the Green Fuse” “And Death Shall Have No Dominion”.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Students in the course should leave the two Saturdays’ meetings more conversant in the big themes and ideas used by English poets writing in the Thirties. They should feel comfortable describing some of the poems of the time, and be able to distinguish and articulate different kinds of poetic composition. They will have some context for the debates and situations in which the poets found themselves. They will, I hope, find reading the poems more rewarding.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for anyone with an interest in the subject matter, for people who have read poetry before or those who have always wanted to but not known where to start. We will read things together, crack them open and ravel them back up.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Classes will consist in a mixture of short lectures aided by Powerpoint presentations, large and small group discussions, group exercises and solitary reading and thinking prior to class which will help us in our activities.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

The tutor will be using the text, Penguin ‘Poetry of the Thirties’ by Robin Skelton. Links to the poems
will be provided by the tutor.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other literature courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture and writing/literture/poetry.

Phoebe Braithwaite

Phoebe Braithwaite is a PhD student in English at Harvard University and her work focuses on the influence of the intellectual Stuart Hall and the tradition of British Cultural Studies. She has taught courses on nonfiction, contemporary literature, and poetry.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.