Autumn 2016-2017


John Wilkinson

In this course, we will study poetry “in the abstract.” We will study various efforts on the part of philosophers, literary critics, and poets themselves to formulate theories of poetic discourse. We will examine a range of historical attempts to conceptualize poetry as a particular kind of language practice, from Aristotle to Adorno and beyond. But we will also question the very project of thinking about “poetics” as opposed to “poetry” or “poems.” Is it possible to theorize the art form without doing violence to the particularity—and peculiarity—of individual poems themselves? (20th/21st)