HENK0386KU English - Free topic 13: Scholiasts, Recyclers, and Copyists (exam form C)

Volume 2015/2016

While Wallace Stevens once in an aphorism claimed that “poetry is the scholar’s art”, T.S. Eliot declared his notes to "The Waste Land” to be a "remarkable exposition of bogus scholarship”. This course sets out to investigate the, sometimes fraught, relationship between poetry and scholarship from high modernism to contemporary literature.


We will work with poetic texts which make extensive use of quotation, rewriting, iteration, and translation as well as nonliterary discourses such as bibliography, lexicography, and annotation. These strategies question the traditional notion of poetry as spontaneous self-expression through the reflection on and recycling of already existing texts. The central question of the course could also be posed as follows: What does it mean to reflect on poetry through the medium of poetry? We will start out by studying the use of quotations in high modernist classics such as T.S. Eliot’s "The Waste Land" and extracts from Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Among the contemporary authors, we will work with the rewritings of Greek and Roman literature by the poet and classical scholar Anne Carson (e.g. in  Nox and Autobiography in Red), and with Susan Howe’s poetic investigations in bibliography in The Non-Conformist’s Memorial and Spontaneous Particulars: The Telepathy of the Archive. By looking at Caroline Bergvall’s iterations of e.g. Dante, we will also touch upon questions of uncreative writing (cf. Kenneth Goldsmith, Marjorie Perloff).  

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • Total
  • 204,75