Wit, Sex and Passion: the Metaphysicals

Course Dates: 07/06/22 - 05/07/22
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: Keeley Street
The poetry of the English 17th century - sometimes called Metaphysical poetry - is characterised by wit and wordplay that continue to delight and seduce us today. The poems of John Donne are brilliantly ingenious depictions of sexual passion, those of George Herbert are moving meditations on religious love, while Andrew Marvell in classic poems such as To His Coy Mistress treads a studiedly fine line between the art of seduction and sexual blackmail.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £60.00

Course Code: HLT54

Tue, day, 07 Jun - 05 Jul '22

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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What is the course about?

The poets and playwrights of the Elizabethan age set a new standard for verbal fireworks. Their successors in the early 17th century raised the bar even higher, so much so that the generation after them recoiled from their dazzling ingenuity, their sexual frankness and their playful wit. Today the reputation of the so called “ Metaphysical” poets is assured. Their exuberance and cleverness, whether addressing a lover or God, have had a lasting influence on the literature of our own day.

What will we cover?

We will look at how poets such as John Donne, George Herbert and Andrew Marvell developed new ideas about poetry, infusing it with spontaneity and drama while at the same time teasing the reader with ingeniously developed ideas about love, sex, mortality and religion.

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

• Recognise recurring themes in English literature
• Relate these to the wider world of British culture
• Feel confident enough to explore further study of related fiction on your own.

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

For those who enjoy reading and discussing literature and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others. All levels are welcome.

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

The course is an interactive mixture of tutor exposition and class discussion. Videos and clips will also be shown and discussed. You will asked to read the texts before the class.

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

Students should buy or borrow
Metaphysical Poetry - Penguin Classics 2006 (ed Colin Burrow)

Apart from the reading material, you should bring with pens, notepaper and file in which to store course materials.

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

Have a look at other Poetry courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/courses under history, culture & writing/literature/poetry.

Julian Birkett

Julian Birkett is a teacher and writer specialising in modern literature. He previously worked in the Arts department at the BBC as a producer of series such as The Late Show, Modern Poets in their Own Words, The Victorians and The Culture Show. He has taught in London and at the University of Mumbai.He aims to create a friendly but thoughtful atmosphere in his City Lit classes and to provide a stimulating variety of activities from tutor input to discussion to group work and video clips.

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.