This article addresses the teaching of Amy Levy's “Xantippe” (1880), a poem 279 lines long, in an upper-division survey of British literature from 1800 to the present focused on life stories. Though the poem is short enough to be read in a single sitting, it is also long enough to pose the pedagogical challenges common to teaching all long poems: asking students to read both closely and at length, to discern unifying tropes or themes across manifold details or narrative episodes, to engage in sufficient discussion commensurate with the long poem's complexity, and to discover the pleasures of the long poem (deep immersion, sweep of vistas, narrative propulsion, and more). Since Levy is not anthologized in most survey textbooks, the article also concerns teaching noncanonical poetry. The methods presented include prompts posing questions and explaining the work's poetic and cultural contexts, and student reading diaries listing what students found challenging and what they learned. The article thus incorporates real-time student responses, as well as discussion of teaching strategies.
Linda K. Hughes; Teaching Amy Levy's “Xantippe”. Pedagogy 1 April 2016; 16 (2): 323–332. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-3435964
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