Seminar: “English Poets and Their Times”

Date: Tuesdays October 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5 and 12

Time: 10am - 12pm

Facilitator: Ridley Rhind

Price: $50

Please email or call 508-636-4177 to reserve your space in the course.

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Poetry doesn't happen in a vacuum. Whereas historians look back and seek to explain the past they never knew, contemporary poets reflect the deep feelings of the people alive during great events and turbulent times. It is impossible to separate poets from their times.

We will begin with the birth of freedom, equality before the law, jury trials, through Magna Carta, the Civil War in England, and so to our own War of Independence from England. We will study the close connection of our freedoms to those of England and why some historians call our War of Independence the Second English Civil War.

Early poetry will begin with Chaucer at the end of the fourteenth century during the Hundred Years War; to Raleigh and Shakespeare who flourished under Elizabeth I; to more modern poets - Blake and Wordsworth, Yeats and Eliot – and many more. 

Not only will we hear their beautiful language, we will see history through their eyes and learn how the times affected them.

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Session Agenda

1. Origins of the “Anglosphere”

  • Common heritage of England and America – from Saxon times;

  • Kaiser Wilhelm – and the Bourbons – did not “get it” for 1,000 years!

2. England Emerges from the “Dark Ages” -   CXII to   CXVII

3. The Crisis of the English Civil War -  CXVII

  • Parliament

  • Freedom of Religion

  • Links to France

4. Nation and Empire - CXVIII and early CXIX

  • Struggles with France and Spain

5. Armageddon in Europe  - CXX

  • Entente Cordiale – with France

  • German States Unite – Think of War

  • The “Anglosphere” 

6. Memory, Aging; Dreams and Faith

  (Class contributions/favourites)