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The term “poetics” is an aesthetic category pertaining to the making of any kind of art, not just poetry. Aristotle’s Poetics, for instance, deals with lyric, epic, and drama. This course will begin with Aristotle, Plato, and ancient Sanskrit poetics, but most of our time will be spent on Romantic and modernist notions of what art in general may aspire to, and the means by which these aspirations can be achieved. We will therefore regard poetics as it has applied to fiction as well as poetry, along with music, architecture, and the visual arts during the past two centuries, in which poetics increasingly incited dreams of a composite destiny involving all the arts.
The following texts will be ordered for campus bookstore: 1. Alex Danchev, ed., 100 Artists' Manifestos (Penguin Books, 2011), 2. Jacques Rancière, Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art (Verso, 2013)
Much of the course readings will be from two anthologies I will not order for the bookstore because you will find incredibly cheap bargains online (literally $3 or $4 each + shipping). Both have been in several editions so it's absolutely imperative you get the correct edition: 1. Hazard Adams, ed., Critical Theory Since Plato, revised edition (Harcourt Brace, 1992)—if you look on Amazon, it's the edition with the dark red/brown cover, and 2. Charles Harrison & Paul Wood, eds., Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Blackwell, 2002).
Honors students: to fulfill the Honors requirement, you will have an additional book: The Man Without Content by Giorgio Agamben (Stanford University Press, 1999)