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Carol Ann Duffy: Feminine Gospels

1. Introduction

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About this Lecture


In this module, we provide an introduction to Carol Ann Duffy as a poet and her 2002 collection ‘Feminine Gospels’, focusing in particular on: (i) Duffy’s use of language, and Wordsworth’s comments in the preface to the second edition of the Lyrical Ballads (2nd ed. 1800) about ‘fitting to metrical arrangement … the real language of men’; (ii) the extent to which Duffy’s feminine gospels are also feminist gospels; (iii) the idea of gospels as a genre of writing associated with men, and what it means to have feminine gospels; (iv) the position of women in literary fiction; and (v) the importance of Duffy’s position as Poet Laureate, the first woman to hold the position in the history of the institution.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 2002 collection, ‘Feminine Gospels’. After an introductory module in which we think about the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy in general and the collection as a whole – and especially the implications of its title – the course continues with a reading and analysis of each of the twenty-one poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, December 06). Carol Ann Duffy: Feminine Gospels - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: Feminine Gospels – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Dec 2019,