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Experimental Poetry (and other artistic work?) in academia

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Author Topic: Experimental Poetry (and other artistic work?) in academia  (Read 687 times)
Tony Watson
« on: June 17, 2009, 10:45:27 pm »

I did a degree in English literature and I have had mixed feelings about it ever since. English as an academic subject at university did not exist until the twentieth century - it was previously thought that you could read novels and poems in you leisure time - and in its early days there were suspicions that as a discipline it was not difficult enough, hence compulsory Anglo-Saxon. It has been said that TS Eliot was a godsend to Eng lit courses because here at last was poetry where you could sit around and discuss what it meant, unlike the more obvious appeal of Longfellow, say.

I remember going to a lecture on Dickens and coming away with the impression that academics were trying to make something difficult that never should be. So I gravitated to medieval literature, Anglo-Saxon (which stopped being compulsory after the first year - this was London) and Old Norse, figuring that it would be difficult to study such things later in life and Jane Austen could always wait.

By the way, did anyone else see the programmes on BBC4 about various poetry topics, such as Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? I enjoyed those two very much.
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