Sunday, June 8, 2014

Professor's Corner: Mourning and Melancholy in Two Poems by Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray (1716-1771).  His Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard and Sonnet [on the Death of Mr. Richard 
West] will be the subject of the next session of Professor's Corner, a free discussion group devoted to quality 
presentations on literary topics.  All are invited to attend the session at the South Branch of the Denton Public 
Library on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 for poetry, discussion and refreshments.  Image courtesy of The Poetry 
The next session of Professor's Corner, a free discussion group devoted to quality presentations on literary topics, happens this Wednesday, June 11, 2014. All are invited to attend.

Mourning and Melancholy in Two Poems by Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray’s contribution to English letters might be considered inversely proportional to his poetic output. Although the poet published only a handful of poems (13-14) during his lifetime, his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard and Sonnet [on the Death of Mr. Richard West] are widely anthologized.  Perhaps more significantly, they offer readers a glimpse of the changing nature of English poetry in the middle of the eighteenth century, serving as a bridge of sorts between the Augustans who preceded him and the Romantics who followed.  In this session of Professor’s Corner, we will examine these two elegies, paying special attention to the function of mourning and melancholy. What do mourning and melancholy in these poems reveal about the state of English poetry?  What do they reveal about our author?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Denton Public Library, South Branch (3228 Teasley, Denton, Texas, 76210.  Just south of the Teasley/Lillian Miller intersection. MapQuest map and directions available here.)

This program is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.

This session's presenter is Dr. Ashley Bender of Texas Woman's University.  She earned her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of North Texas. Although she specializes in Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, especially drama, her scholarly interests range from Renaissance and early seventeenth-century drama to (some) Romantic poetry of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  Dr. Bender has presented at Professor’s Corner previously.


Sonnet [on the Death of Mr Richard West] (Reading before the session is encouraged but not required)
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (Reading before the session is encouraged but not required)
Thomas Gray (The Poetry Foundation)
Thomas Gray (Wikipedia)
This session is part of the free series entitled Professor's Corner: A Literary Discussion Group, the purpose of which is to meet a public need for high-quality presentations on literary topics by having local English professors talk about their special interests. The presentations are aimed at the general public and allow for discussion. Readings of modest length are usually available in advance.  Gatherings are usually on the second Wednesday of specified months from 7:00 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m.  Monthly announcements are available by e-mail; to get on the mailing list, send a request by e-mail to Fred Kamman, Denton Public Library (; 940-349-8752.)

Dr. Stephen Souris, Texas Woman’s University (; 940-898-2343)

Denton Public Library, Voertman's Bookstore, Recycled Books Records CDs, and Cooper’s Copies and Printing.  This program was also made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Please join us.

~Dr. Stephen Souris

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