Poetry, Love, and Death

Subject ENGL20032 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Lucy Van



Subject Overview:

Poetry has always been about extreme experiences, above all in the realms of love and death. But poetry is not only about extremity; it is itself an extreme experience, not least of language. This subject focuses on great poetry about love and death, their continuities and mutations over time and place. Gay, straight, celebratory, condemnatory, strange, terrifying, obscene, beautiful, ambivalent: this subject will run the gamut of the poetry of love and death, introducing students to a wide range of poets from the classics to the present, and examining their accounts of love, death, being and affect through a variety of forms and techniques. Beginning with the great lyric poems of Sappho, the subject moves from ancient Greece and Rome to medieval and early modern Europe through to the present day. Each week will introduce new poets, new modes and new situations that bear upon the central theme; each week will be accompanied by secondary readings that provide salient formal, contextual and theoretical information about the poems.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of representative examples of poems and poetic forms;
  • articulate the relationship between exemplary poems and the social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
  • apply high-level analysis, conceptual sophistication and critical thinking to the study of poetic texts and their uses;
  • contribute to the understanding of poetic texts in ways that engage the interests of the discipline of literary studies;
  • effectively communicate an understanding of poetic texts and their contexts in both written and oral formats;
  • have gained an understanding of how to act as critically informed participants within a community of literature scholars, as citizens and in the work force at large.

An essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester) and an essay of 2500 words 60% (due in the examination period).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

The Norton Anthology of Poetry (5th edition), 2005

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject students should have:

  • acquired a transportable set of interpretative skills;
  • developed their capacity for independent research;
  • developed their capacity for critical thinking and analysis;
  • developed their ability to communicate in writing.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - English and Theatre Studies

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