Spring 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
LIT 4329 Section 001
MW Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
Frost, Stevens, and Cummings

Description of Course:

This course surveys the poetry (and some prose) of Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and E. E. Cummings—three dissimilar poets, yet all interesting blends of modernist and traditionalist. Frost’s poems, conservative in form, nonetheless present the thematic complexity and ambiguity typical of modernism. Cummings enjoyed being the modernist bad boy who visually reshaped conventions of spacing, capitals and punctuation. But he was also traditional in his romantic iconoclasm and treatments of spring and love. Stevens evolved from playfully exotic themes and diction in his early poems, dramatizing the imagination, to reflecting on it in his memorable later poems. We’ll read mostly short, lyric poems of the three, but also some longer pieces of Frost and Stevens, and possibly an act from Cummings’s play, Him.

Required Texts:

Required texts:
Robert Frost, Collected Poems, Plays, and Prose (Library of America)
Wallace Stevens, Collected Poetry & Prose (Library of America)
E. E. Cummings, Selected Poems, ed. with introduction by Richard Kennedy (Liveright)
Packet of supplemental poems and writings by Cummings

Recommended texts:
Jay Parini, Robert Frost: A Life (Picador)
Richard Kennedy, Dreams in the Mirror: A Biography of E. E. Cummings (Liveright)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students will write two formal papers (5 pages each) and three 2-page explications of individual poems, the composite counting for about 75% of the final grade. Class participation will count for about 25%.

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