Barry Wood

The mid-17th century, dominated by Milton as the previous era was dominated by Shakespeare, nonetheless encompassed a crop of minor poets whose work represented a diversity of feeling and thought, theme and forms. Andrew Marvell (1621-78)was a key figure  with poems engaged with the central and interlocking themes of love, politics and religion; but a dozen or more other poets shared his taste for the subtleties and complexities of wit and the capacity to combine levity and seriousness, clarity and grace of insight with a depth of theme. The course will focus not only on Marvell but also on the work of Henry Vaughan (162?-1691), Katherine Philips (1631-1664), and Aphra Behn (1640-1689) with some reference to Anne Wharton, Anne Killigrew, John Wilmot/ Earl of Rochester, and Thomas Traherne.

Poems for particularly close reading will include: Marvell “To His Coy Mistress”, “The Garden”, “An Horatian Ode”; Philips “Against Love”, “To My Excellent Lucia, Upon Our Friendship”, “To Antenor”; Aphra Behn “On Her Loving Two Equally”, “The Disappointment”, “To the Fair Clarinda, Who Made Love to Me”, Vaughan “Poem: I Saw Eternity the Other Night”, “They Are All Gone Into a World of Light”.

Recommended Reading: Helen Gardner (ed) The Metaphysical Poets (Penguin); Germaine Greer, et al (eds) Kissing the Rod (Virago Press). Copies of poems for close study will be distributed before classes begin.

Day:  Thursdays         Time: 10.30-12.30

8 weeks Thursday 5 October – 19 October; 2 November – 30 November 2023, with a half-term break on 26th October.


Cross Street Chapel,
Cross St,
Manchester M2 1NL

Price Concessions Minimum No. Maximum No.
£80 5 16

Please send bookings and enquiries to:

Barry Wood; 12 St Brannock’s Road; Manchester;  M21 0UP.