Literature and Creative Writing

On Second Thoughts

On Second Thoughts


New for 2014

However fluent the output of many great British writers may seem, it takes a great deal of time and trouble in WB Yeats's phrase "to hammer one's thoughts into unity”. This is a course that considers the sweat and tears, the alterations and reconstruction that lie behind some of the most well-known works in the literary canon. How did William Blake tinker with his tiger? What is the difference in various versions of Shakespeare's plays? Was Wordsworth always unhappy with his work?

Come along for an introduction to literary sleuthing.

Course notes

Welcome to this course on a topic that I hope will be of interest. On second thoughts, you are very welcome.

Most of what we shall look at is hidden away in footnotes, but if you wish to do some preparation, why not try different versions of Coleridge's "The Ancient Mariner”?

Most editions of Coleridge's poetry will have a prose commentary beside the poem, but the 1798 edition of "Lyrical Ballads” will not. Be careful: the poem was published several times, so make sure that 1798 is mentioned (ed. A.R. Jones & R.L. Brett in what used to be Methuen).

A parallel text of Wordsworth's "Prelude” ed. J.C. Maxwell (Penguin) is handy.

Photocopies will be supplied for the other works. But don't be daunted, the course should be a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing you.

Marlborough College, Wiltshire SN8 1PA Telephone: 01672 892388