English 262 - Winter, 2015

American Literature after 1914

Class Information

Instructor: Clover, Joshua
CRN: 93575
Time: W 3:10-6:00
Location: 120 Voorhies
Breadth: Later American
Focus: Theory


    World Systems Poetry

    This course situates “American” poetry of late modernity within world systems analysis, aka world systems theory. This theoretical approach has already made significant contributions to historiographic and systemic understandings of the modern novel; this course will test the available set of propositions against poetry of the period.

    In this case, we might understand there to be two entangled “world systems”: one referring immediately to the global circulation and valorization of literature; one to the shifting geopolitical-economy of the capitalist system. Do these approaches provide a reading approach for poetry which breaks with the tradition of close reading, and is such a thing even possible given the character of poetry? Do the periodizing tools made available by world-system theory offer explanatory power for the fate of anglophone North American poetry and poetics? Can we begin to offer speculations on the reading methods that achieved primacy in distinct historical situations?

    In addition to the listed readings, various articles will be assigned along the way, including Joel Nickels, Sarah Brouillette, James English, and Ruth Jennison. We will also read a selection of poems by late-modern Nobel Prize winners against poetries of anglophone North America, as a sort of triangulating act. Please note: texts not available in the bookstore will be made available otherwise.


    Each participant will be expected to attend every meeting, contribute to each conversation, present one of the scholarly readings with care, and write a final essay of conference paper length (c. 2500 words).


    Memory, Bernadette Mayer
    My Life , Lyn Hejinian
    Four Lectures, Stephen Rodefer
    Descent of Alette, Alice Notley
    Sun, Michael Palmer
    Splay Anthem, Nathaniel Mackey
    The Transformation, Juliana Spahr
    World-Systems Theory: An Introduction, Immanuel Wallerstein
    The Long Twentieth Century, Giovanni Arrighi
    The World Republic of Letters, Pascale Casanova
    Distant Reading, Franco Moretti