interested in the method used in English 219, Xenophon Productions is making
available a full-length DVD showing a class on Robert Browning's
"My Last Duchess," with a brief introduction outlining
the principles -- speaker, internal audience, dramatic setting,
symbolic meaning -- underlying the formal analysis of poetry.
selection from the introductory section may be seen at
is available to college and secondary school faculty interested
in "close reading" as a basis for their own teaching
of poetry. Requests for the DVD should be sent on department
or school letterhead. Mailing directions are given below.
of the video is Robert Andersen of Best Foot Forward Films. Students
are members of English 219 at Rutgers, fall semester2011. The
professor is William C. Dowling.
who completed English 219 with Professor Dowling may also order
discs. Follow the mailing directions below, and please mention
the class (academic year, fall or spring semester) of which you
were a member.
219 at Rutgers University -- Introduction to Poetry -- is a course
required of English majors.
came to Rutgers as a version of Reuben Brower's Humanities 6
at Harvard, which had revolutionized the study of poetry through
the method of close reading, or what Brower once called "reading
in slow motion." Its teachers were younger Rutgers faculty
-- Richard Poirier, Thomas Edwards, David Kalstone, Paul Bertram,
and others -- who had recently taught "Hum 6" at Harvard.
6, or Reading before Theory," published in Raritan Quarterly
(vol. 9, no. 4: Spring 1990),
Poirier explained why close reading remains the basis of what
is today called "the literary study of literature:"
can only occur in time, word by word, sentence by sentence, responsive
to opportunities as they open up, to resistances as they are
encountered, to entrapments which must be dodged, all of these
latent in the words just previously laid down and in the forms,
both large and small, that reading and writing often fall into.
Frost once declared that "poetry is the renewal of words
forever and ever." His point, and the spirit of English
219 at Rutgers is summed up in Poirier's account of why reading
requires what he calls "endless scruple": "That
is how the activity of reading begins, how it is carried on,
and why, so long as the words are in front of you, it should
| The second production run of the
"English 219 at Rutgers" DVD is now available. To get
your copy, see mailing directions below.
Enclose a self-addressed standard DVD mailer with postage ($1.10)
as shown. Do NOT seal the mailer:
Put the mailer
inside a 6 X 9 envelope with address and postage (90 cents):
We've been getting
many video requests that do the right thing -- manilla envelope,
DVD mailer, postage -- but don't pay attention to the envelope
dimensions given above.
This means disaster.
Larger envelopes and mailers get badly bent when put in the PO
We've been going
ahead and sending DVD's to people in their damaged mailers, but
if you want a DVD in pristine shape, it's probably best to observe
Enclose three dollars to cover production cost of your copy.
The DVD will be sent to you in the enclosed mailer.