Jahan Ramazani became the second Connelly Lecturer in Fall 2007.
The following information was current at the time of Ramazani's visit to Grinnell. Edgar F. Shannon Professor of Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Virginia, winner of NEH and Guggenheim fellowships, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, winner of the MLA¹s William Riley Parker Prize, winner of a Rhodes Scholarship, Chair of UVA¹s English department, Jahan Ramazani is a most accomplished scholar and editor. His books include the new Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry from Norton & Company, The Hybrid Muse: Postcolonial Poetry in English from the University of Chicago Press, Poetry of Mourning: The Modern Elegy from Hardy to Heaney from the University of Chicago Press, and Yeats and the Poetry of Death: Elegy, Self-Elegy, and the Sublimefrom Yale University Press. Ever attentive to the pleasures of literary discourse, particularly poetry, Ramazani complicates such pleasures by engaging the problems of history and politics. His work allows us to see what is distinctive about literary study and what is inextricably bound to other disciplines. Close reading combined with astute sociological investigation yields in the case of his book on elegy, for example, a sense of the modern poet¹s very different relationship to death. Recourse to psychoanalytic theory allows us to see how the modern poet almost seems to court a kind of obdurate melancholy: a grief that, in the absence of any grand consolations, refuses to be assuaged. The result is the best sort of literary and cultural history. It understands all of the variables (genre, death, practices of consolation, formal techniques, tonal preferences, etc.) to be in flux and, thus, available for new and compelling recombinations. Ramazani gave the following lectures during his visit to Grinnell:
"Poetry, Modernity, Globalization"
Poetry has often been seen as a more local and national genre than other genres. In this talk, Jahan Ramazani argues instead for a transnational approach to the study of poetry, particularly in the twentieth century. Drawing on examples from early twentieth-century modernism to late twentieth-century postcolonialism, he explores the impact of modernity's globalizing forces on the writing of poetry in English.
"Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Poetry of Mourning"
"Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Poetry of Mourning" Mourning, memorialization, nationalism--the political uses of mourning for the nation-state are everywhere to be seen. Elegies, or poems of mourning for the dead, have been used in the service of the nation, fostering nationalist identification with the dead and the ongoing life of the country. Yet elegies have also been used to form micro-communities of grief that cross national boundaries. Focusing on examples of elegies by W. B. Yeats and W. H. Auden, Jahan Ramazani explores the competing claims of nationalism, transnationalism, and anti-nationalism in mourning and the writing of elegies.