George Herbert

George Herbert

Assignment: Develop an argument about what you understand to be Herbert’s personal style. To do this think carefully about what elements are common to all of Herbert’s poetry and what elements change from poem to poem. I want you to develop a specific argument, a thesis, that is controversial (i.e. you can imagine someone disagreeing), and that you can try to persuade me of. The evidence for your augment will by your analysis of actual poems. To prove you case, analyze two (at least) and three (at most) Herbert poems. In defining your thesis and analyzing the poems you may use any of the tolls that we have discussed this semester: formal analysis, thematic analysis (i.e. translating the content into normal language), applying the theoretical models of Jakobson, Nietzsche or Bourdieu, contextualizing poetry within the historical context (e.g. cavalier vs puritan; conflict about religion) or contextualizing poetry within the literary tradition (e.g. the history of sonnets; iambic pentameter as a recurring normative standard in the tradition, etc)

For most of you, you will want to start by picking some poems, copying them out and writing about them to “brainstorm.” this process will hopefully start to lead you to a specific thesis about Herbert’s personal style. Please feel free to check in with me about your thesis as it starts to emerge through the process.

When you hand in your paper, please do the following, pasted on before the start of the paper:

1. Copy the thesis statement word for word.
2. Copy each topic sentence, one after the other, to create a paragraph that should be a very good summary of the argument of the paper as a whole. If this paragraph doesn’t sound right, then that might be a sign that you have to revise the topic sentences as they appear in the paper, or possibly revise other elements of the paper

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