"Rethinking the Heroic Couplet" (ASECS 2014 CFP, Williamsburg, VA)
This panel invites proposals that explore innovative approaches to the heroic couplet in the long eighteenth century. Papers on dramatic and non-dramatic poetry are both welcome. Topics include, but are not limited to, the intellectual, aural, and oral experience of reading and writing heroic couplets in the eighteenth century; the challenges of studying the couplet in our own period; the evolution and eventual marginalization of the couplet; the relationship between form and genre; the couplet's relationship to gender, class, and other forms of social and/or aesthetic hierarchy. From Pope and Dryden to Duck and Leapor, what kinds of work—aesthetic, moral, temporal, spiritual, cultural, nationalist, ideological—does the couplet enable writers to do at various moments throughout the long eighteenth century? Setting aside the obvious prestige of the heroic couplet in the poetic hierarchy, what do different writers gain by embracing (or refusing to embrace) the couplet as a form?