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Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife

17. Circe

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the seventeenth poem in the collection, 'Circe', focusing in particular on: (i) the figure of Circe in Homer's Odyssey; (ii) the prevalence of animals in the collection as a whole, especially people turning into animals and animals turning into other things; (iii) the sensual, sexual way in which Circe speaks about her animals; (iv) the significance of this poem's positioning immediately after 'The Devil's Wife'; and (v) the extent to which the poems in this collection explore the extremes of female existence ¬– including the violent extremes.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1999 collection, 'The World's Wife'. After a brief introduction to the collection as a whole, the course continue with a read-through and analysis of each of the thirty 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. (2020, April 28). Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife - Circe [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife – Circe." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Apr 2020,

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