A Poet of Pleasure: Ronert Herrick
Robert Herrick was a remarkable and very enjoyable seventeenth-century author whose rediscovery has long been overdue. He was born into a wealthy family of goldsmiths, and he became a clergyman. This is the moment when you might think: a clergyman, so his poetry is probably boring. Well, the opposite is true. He very much enjoyed life and had a somewhat eccentric sense of humour, and therefore he did not write like a clergyman at all.
The English revolution had immediate consequences for him. It brought the end of the monarchy, and as Herrick was a supporter of the king, he lost his job in 1647. The poems he wrote in these difficult times are particularly interesting: What do you do as a poet when you do not agree with the new, revolutionary political system that has just taken your job and livelihood away?
Under the new regime, everybody had to be extremely well-behaved. The Puritan revolutionaries hated any form of hedonism. Herrick decided to irritate and annoy them by writing poems that openly celebrated many forms of enjoyment. These included culinary and erotic pleasures. The quality of his poetry is extraordinary; he knew how to play not only with ideas but also with sounds and rhythms.
Depending on the further development of the pandemic, this seminar may or may not be taught face to face on campus. Our worst-case scenario is that we will have to continue in online mode. This is not ideal, but the last three semesters have shown that it is doable. In any case teaching will be in real time, so do not double-book this time slot.
Please join the seminar’s Moodle Room (A poet of pleasure: James Herrick, password: Poet_of_pleasure_WS_21-22 – but you already know this because you are here). A reader will be made available for free via the Moodle room. Further information will be sent to you by e-mail. Please make sure to use and check your official university e-mail addresses at all times. Do not use any other addresses, and do not have e-mails sent to your university address forwarded to other addresses. Our experience in the last semester has shown that using non-university addresses / forwarding mails will lead to our messages bouncing back in very many cases.
Very useful background information on key cultural and literary contexts of Herrick’s time can be found here: Christoph Heyl, Kleine Englische Literaturgeschichte. J.B. Metzler. ISBN-13: 978-3476045096.
Just in case your application is rejected by the LSF system: If you want to do this course because you are genuinely interested, you will be most welcome, no matter what LSF says. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org who will enrol you manually. The worst that might happen to you is that you cannot do a Leistungsnachweis if you lack the formal requirements.
- Lehrende(r): Christoph Heyl