Essay Questions:

(1). “England won the war but lost the peace. In fact, English culture after the Second World War is a study in decline.” Write an essay in which you consider the validity of this statement by looking at some of the texts studied in class over the semester.

(2). Sylvia Plath’s appropriation of Holocaust imagery to describe her own personal trauma is entirely appropriate and does not merit the approbation to which much of her poetry has been subject.

(3). “After England we have America! American offers something new and exciting and positive and optimistic!” Is this true? Write an essay in which you consider this statement in light of texts you have studied in this or any other class.

(4). “For poetry makes nothing happen” [W.H. Auden, “In Memory of W.B. Yeats”, line 36]. Use this simple quotation as the basis for an essay on politics and poetry (or literature more widely), in which you consider whether literature in the twentieth century has any real political value or significance.

(5). “The Holocaust casts a pall over all that follows it and, indeed, even much that came before it. Theodore Adorno famously asked how one can write poetry after Auschwitz; W.G. Sebald said that no serious person thinks of anything other than the Holocaust. Is this true? Are we always to live under the shadow of the chimneys of Auschwitz or should we find new ways to write and think and create so that we are no longer prisoners of the historical past? Write an essay in which you consider this question in light of the literature you have read in class this year.”

(6). Write an essay on a topic of your own choice. Your essay should relate to one or more texts studied in class this semester. Please consult with me first before you start writing your essay.

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