The panel reads three poems by Wilfred Owen, perhaps the greatest poet of the Great War, including his “Dulce et Decorum Est”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, and “Spring Offensive”, with attention to their arresting imagery and formal characteristics.
Author: Critical Readings
CR Episode 166: H. P. Lovecraft’s Polaris
The panel, joined by special guest Lane Haygood, reads H. P. Lovecraft’s Polaris, and discusses its rich symbolism, use of metaphor, deliberately archaic language, ambiguous resolution, and how its formal structure mirrors its narrative content.
CR Episode 165: Pope’s Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot
The panel reads Alexander Pope’s “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot” and discusses its moral and ethical instruction alongside its waspish skewering of eighteenth-century “dunces”, including Colley Cibber, Lord Hervey, and Lady Mary Wortley Montague.
CR Episode 164: Tennyson’s Locksley Hall
The panel reads Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall” and discusses its connexion to the real Loxley Hall in Staffordshire, as well as the poem’s formal qualities, and its depiction of nineteenth-century British social, imperial, and military culture.
CR Episode 163: Love and Death with Edna St. Vincent Millay
The panel closely reads four poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, focusing primarily on her sonnets, and evaluates their formal structure and potential metaphysical and theological implications, whilst connecting each poem to the others in turn.
CR Episode 162: Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Horatius
The panel reads the entirety of Thomas Babington Macaulay’s “Horatius” from his collection Lays of Ancient Rome, and discusses the Horatian nature of the work as a narrative which both edifies and delights, along with the formal aspects of the poem.
CR Episode 161: James Joyce’s Chamber Music
The panel reviews selections from James Joyce’s inaugural work, the poetry collection titled Chamber Music, the first-published of his substantial works, giving attention to the formal metrics, structure, and interrelated symbolism of the poems.
CR Episode 160: The Poetry of Lewis Carroll
The panel reads four poems by Lewis Carroll and discusses the importance of poetic form in nonsense poetry, along with several potentially complicated readings that go beyond straight-forward narrative and verge upon social commentary.
CR Episode 159: The Sangraal of Robert Stephen Hawker
The panel reads “The Quest of the Sangraal” by the nineteenth-century parson and poet, Robert Stephen Hawker, with special attention to the use of differing Arthurian traditions and the fusion of mediæval and modern poetic forms, syntax, and vocabulary.
CR Episode 158: Introduction to Thomas Traherne
The panel reads three poems by Thomas Traherne, a late seventeenth-century English poet of imaginative, reflective, and speculative verse, whose manuscripts were discovered by happenstance and saved from the refuse pit in the late nineteenth century.
CR Episode 157: Washington Irving’s Christmas
The panel reads Washington Irving’s Christmas sequence from The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., and examines how its portrayal of an old-fashioned, English Christmas served to influence attitudes towards the ideal of Christmas in the United States.
CR Episode 156: The Lay of the Children of Hurin, Part III
The panel concludes a three-week reading of The Lay of the Children of Hurin, examining the connexion between the history, geography, and cosmology of Tolkien’s imagined Middle-Earth and that of our own, very real, terrestrial middle-earth.