Lyric Poetry & Society

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2LA2044

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Milind Wakankar, [Programme Coordinator: Dr. Akhil Katyal]

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

The course looks at the generic work of the lyric in modernity, focusing on Rilke, but also bringing in the key European poets of the 20 C. Theoretical insights will be gleaned from Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno and Valery. The objective of the course is to understand creative writing through lyric poetry.

Course Outcomes:

  • On completion of the course, the student should be able to demonstrate the ability in:
  • Disciplinary Knowledge: An understanding of the generic work that Lyric Poetry does, especially in relation to the concept and periodization of modernity
  • Disciplinary Knowledge: through a familiarity with key 20th century European poets who exemplify the genre of Lyric Poetry
  • Creative Writing Practice: Understanding the intervention of and stakes of Lyric Poetry for their own creative writing practice, especially for their poetry practice

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module I: Week I: Introduction to the Lyric in Modernity with particular reference to the scholarship of Theodor Adorno:

Adorno, T.W., 'On Lyric Poetry and Society', in Télos 1974 (20): pg. 56-71.

Module II: Weeks 2-6: This module focuses on an engagement with the poetic work of Rainer Maria Rilke:

Rilke, Rainer Maria, Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, Penguin: 2009.

Rilke, Rainer Maria, Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus, Vintage: 2014.

Rilke, Rainer Maria, Letters to a Young Poet, Penguin: 2012.

Module III: Weeks 7-9: The module works as a Benjaminian Interlude, focusing on the works of philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin that is relevant to the scholarly understanding of Lyric Poetry:

Benjamin, Walter, 'The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism', in Marcus Bullock (ed.), Selected Writings by Walter Benjamin: 1913-1926, Harvard University Press: 1996.

Benjamin, Walter, “Two Poems by Friedrich Hölderlin,” in Walter Benjamin Selected Writings: 1913- 1926, vol. 1, Harvard University Press, 2002, pp. 18-36 [SW]; GS II, 1.

Benjamin, Walter, The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire, Harvard University Press: 2006.

Module IV: Week 10-14: This module focuses on the works of the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the poet and essayist Poet Valery, in relation to the genre of Lyric Poetry:

Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought. (New York: HarperCollins, 1971)

Valery, Paul, Selected Writings of Paul Valery, New Directions: 1964.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • 1. Three Major Writing Assignments (2 analytical pieces of writing of 1000 words each, and 1 Creative Writing Poetry): 20% each
  • Classroom participation & presentation: 40%

Reading List:

For a Module-Wise Reading List, See above.