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Author Archives: S. P. Cooper

About S. P. Cooper

Ph. D., English Literary and Cultural Studies. Medieval literature and history; research on Arthuriana, chivalry, kingship, and the Church.

CR EPisode 63: Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis

John Dryden, by Sir Godfrey Kneller

John Dryden, by Sir Godfrey Kneller

Download Link: Released 2021.01.11

The panel continues to welcome in a new year by looking back to an old year–in this case, A.D. 1666, and Dryden’s poem “Annus Mirabilis”, which ruminates on the wonders of war with Holland, the Great Fire of London, and the heroic conduct of Charles II.

 
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Posted by on 11 January 2021 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 62: Winter with Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1868

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1868

Download Link: Released 2021.01.04

As the new year dawns, the panel revisits the work of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the quintessential Fireside Poet, to reexamine some favourites (Excelsior, The Day Is Done) and some poems which are new to the podcast (Psalm of Life, Paul Revere’s Ride).

 
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Posted by on 4 January 2021 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 61: Poetry and Prose of John Donne

John Donne, painted by Isaac Oliver

John Donne, painted by Isaac Oliver

Download Link: Released 2020.12.28

If it must be Donne, let it be done well! The panel reads Donne’s selected poetry and prose: a Christmas sermon, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, “The Flea”, and selections from both “La Corona” and “Holy Sonnets”.

 
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Posted by on 28 December 2020 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 60: The Ambiguous Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell

Download Link: Released 2020.12.21

The panel considers the scholarly consensus that Marvell is poetically and politically ambiguous by reading “To His Coy Mistress”, “Clorinda and Damon”, “A Dialogue between the Soul and the Body”, and “An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland”.

 
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Posted by on 21 December 2020 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 59: Contradictory Verse of Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick

Robert Herrick

Download Link: Released 2020.12.07

The panel continues a survey of English Civil War poetry with a look at Robert Herrick’s deliberately contradictory verses, including his Hesperides, and the famous Carpe Diem poems “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” and “Corinna’s Going a Maying”.

 
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Posted by on 7 December 2020 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 58: Religious Poetry of George Herbert

George Herbert

George Herbert

Download Link: Released 2020.11.16

The panel examines the poetical works of George Herbert, discussing the Christian theological implications found in the language of three of his lyric poems, each of which is composed on a religious topic: “Prayer (2)”, “Divinity”, and “Love (3)”.

 
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Posted by on 16 November 2020 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 57: Cigars and Seaweed of James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell

Download Link: Released 2020.10.26

The panel examines selected verse of American fire-side poet James Russell Lowell, with a brief survey including some light verse on cigars and seasons, and some more serious writing on nautical themes featuring sirens, seaweed, and ocean-side lyres.

 
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Posted by on 26 October 2020 in Podcasts

 

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CR Episode 56: An Introduction to Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell

Download Link: Released 2020.10.19

The panel reviews the biography of, and some selected works by, the twentieth-century poet Robert Lowell, including his “Falling Asleep over the Aeneid”, “Memories of West Street and Lepke”, and “Four Spanish Sonnets”, with special attention to form.

 
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Posted by on 19 October 2020 in Podcasts

 

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The Lost Forms of the English Language

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Readers of Shakespeare and Early Modern versions of the Bible (e.g. Douay-Rheims/King James) are doubtless aware that English as it is spoken today is considerably ‘defective’ (in the grammatical sense) compared to the way it was spoken and written several centuries ago. The second-person pronoun, you, is the most obvious example, having lost all of its forms except for that of the plural object. This situation causes a perplexity when one tries to translate other languages into English: how to render differences in the second-person pronouns of other languages when English has only the one form?

In the interest of recovering those lost forms, whether for translation purposes or everyday use(!), I provide here a much simplified set of basic instructions for forming second- and third-person pronouns and their associated verb endings:

Pronouns
2nd Person Singular Subject: Thou (Thou art running.)
2nd Person Singular Object: Thee (I hit thee.)
2nd Person Plural Subject: Ye (Ye are applauding.)
2nd Person Plural Object: You (I dismiss you.)

Verb Endings
2nd Person Singular: -t/st (Thou shalt not lie. Thou hast the cup.)
3rd Person Singular: -th (He/She/It hath value.)

Possessive Forms
2nd Person Singular: Thy (I see thy cat.)
2nd Person Singular before vowel sounds, or as a pronoun: Thine (I see thine eyes. The cup is thine)
(1st person my/mine is formed likewise: my cat, mine eyes, the cup is mine).

The English second person pronoun became defective in part due to social convention. The plural form (Ye/You) was also used as the formal mode of address when speaking to individuals. In time, two things happened: (1) people were increasingly keen to demonstrate that they treated everyone very respectfully, so the formal mode of address was used in ever-less-formal settings; and, (2) people began to expect to be addressed formally, so the formal mode of address was used in order to avoid giving offence. George Fox wrote that some Quakers–who generally adhered to grammatical convention–were accosted in the street when they failed to address individuals with the formal, plural pronoun. Despite that, some Quaker communities continue to use Thy/Thou; and, in regions such as Yorkshire and Durham, the second person Thou/Thy is also still in use.

There are some fine resources online for a more detailed account of Middle and Early Modern English grammar. But, as far as print resources go, I recommend Fisiak’s A Short Grammar of Middle English (1968), which provides the grammatical background for the forms above (pp. 86-87).

 
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Posted by on 11 October 2020 in Essays

 

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CR Episode 55: Wallace Stevens’ Harmonium

Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens

Download Link: Released 2020.10.05

The panel reviews five poems selected from Wallace Stevens’ debut collection, Harmonium, and considers the role of Stevens within the larger context of the poetic development of the Romantic movement into its fulfilment with the advent of Modernism.

 
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Posted by on 5 October 2020 in Podcasts

 

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