January 20, 2010

Oops I forgot: Katherine Philips Info

Preparation for Next Week:

As usual, the reading in bold type is a compulsory part of the course and everything else is optional but highly recommended.

Please read the selection of Katherine Philips’ poetry on the handout: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/undergraduate/current/modules/fulllist/second/en228/katherine_philips/

Points to think about:
- What does Philips have to say about the issue of women writing?
- In what ways does she engage with the conventions of Cavalier poetry? Does her gender influence her use of these conventions?
- In what ways is her poetry similar to/different from that produced by Hester Pulter?
- Feminist scholars like to identify Philips as a lesbian. Do you agree?
- How might the fact she circulated her poetry in manuscript (and didn’t intend to have it printed) have affected its content?

Optional secondary reading:

- The DNB entry for Philips gives a useful outline of her life.

Philips originally circulated her poetry in manuscript, a form of publication particularly significant for women during the period. To get some idea of early modern women’s manuscript culture, have a look at the Perdita Project website: http://human.ntu.ac.uk/research/perdita/index.html

This is a database of all of the extant manuscripts authored or compiled by women during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Perdita Project, which has just come to an end, was run by Elizabeth.

Faerie Queene Graphic Novel

Just came across this website: http://www.monsterdoll.ca/counterfet.html

Their depiction of Britomart is great:


December 21, 2009

Writing Tips

From George Orwell’s ‘Politics and the English Language’; worth bearing in mind for the assessed essay:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

December 13, 2009

Union First Line Index

A brand new and really useful research resource: http://firstlines.folger.edu./

It’s a searchable first and last line index of manuscript poems in the Bodleian Library, Beinecke Library, British Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, Harvard University, Huntington Library, and the University of Leeds, and other places.

It’s a good way of finding out if a poet is drawing on a common motif or responding directly to another poem.

I just did a search (under ‘Advanced’, search term: ‘First line’) for ‘tell me no more’ and it brought up 30 results including Hester Pulter’s poem on her daughter Jane.

December 11, 2009


In one of the seminars yesterday I went through a list of journals that are particularly useful for this module. One of them is Early Modern Literary Studies, which is freely available online: http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/emlshome.html

The others are: The Seventeenth Century; English Literary History; and English Literary Renaissance. These are all available online and can be found very easily via a search of the library catalogue.

Useful Book

Em English Poetry

Early Modern English Poetry: A Critical Companion ed., Patrick Cheney, Andrew Hadfield and Garrett A. Sullivan Jr (OUP, 2006). A useful collection of short essays (all written by leading experts) on specific aspects of sixteenth and seventeenth century poetry.

Hester Pulter

NB Not Pulter

As usual, the reading in bold type is a compulsory part of the course and everything else is optional but highly recommended.

Please read the selection of Pulter’s poems on the website: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/ren/projects/hesterpulter/

Points to think about:

- What does Pulter have to say about gender? How are these ideas conveyed? You might want to think about poetic form, use of imagery etc.
- The poems on Charles I make it clear where Pulter’s political sympathies lay. In the selection of poetry provided, does she convey her royalism by other means?
- Think about Pulter’s manipulation of literary form. What does she do that’s familiar? In what ways does she innovate?
- We’ve talked a lot about personal voice this term. What can we say about Pulter’s ‘voice’?
- In what ways do the material circumstances in which the poems were produced impact on the form and content of those poems?

Optional Extra Reading:

A full list of everything ever published on Pulter has been supplied on the website.

Watch the video!


November 29, 2009



I don’t know if anyone was listening to Morrissey on Desert Island Discs this morning but he and Kirsty Young were, at one point, trying to remember what ‘Rodomontade’ means.

Hester Pulter (who we’ll be looking at after Christmas) uses the term in her romance, ‘The Unfortunate Florinda’. It’s a reference to a character from two other romances: Rodomont, a Turk and king of Algeria, appears in Bioardo’s Italian epic poem Orlando Innamorato and in Ariosto’s continuation of Bioardo’s poem Orlando Furioso, which was translated into English by James Harington, queen Elizabeth’s godson, and the father of Pulter’s brother-in-law, John Harington. As a character Rodomont is a vainglorious braggart and the name ‘Rodomont’ came to be used as a term for a boaster or a braggart (OED) while the term ‘Rodomontade’ was used to refer to boastful behavior (OED).

The image above is an illustration of Rodomont from a c16th edition of Orlando Furioso. For more pictures click here.

November 28, 2009



Rhetoric is the application of reason to imagination “for the better moving of the will.” Francis Bacon

It’s come to my attention that while we keep talking about ‘rhetoric’ in lectures and seminars not everyone is clear about what it is actually is.

To find out more, first read this: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/english/courses/sites/lunsford/pages/defs.htm

Then have a look at this: http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm
(‘sesquipedalian’ means “Of words and expressions (after Horace’s sesquipedalia verba ‘words a foot and a half long’, A.P. 97): Of many syllables”, OED I also like the fact that it can refer to people a foot and a half tall).

The image on the left is of the Lady of Rhetoric; an explanation of the different symbols and references in the picture can be found here: http://im.bradley.edu/ell/303/lady.html

Search this blog

OED Word of the Day Go to 'Word of the day'

Word of the day
The word of the day from Oxford English Dictionary

Most recent comments

  • I agree with you Essay Writing by James on this entry
  • Hi there. I got a Google Alert on your link to our project. Unfortunately, all the writers and artis… by Mike from Monster Doll on this entry
  • Whenever i see the post like your's i feel that there are still helpful people who share information… by Masters Dissertation on this entry
  • He IS an interesting character! Bonkers, but interesting… by on this entry
  • I'm not sure if you're inviting comments or not because you said *I'm not sure if anyone was listeni… by Sue on this entry

Blog archive

RSS2.0 Atom

March 2023

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Feb |  Today  |
      1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31      
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder