Only a short post today because I am still recovering from a stomach bug that I wouldn’t have wished on my worst enemy. Being confined to the house for several days has, however, meant that I have had plenty of time to complete the first week of an online course that I think many of you would enjoy. On the FutureLearn platform, the University of Warwick are offering a module entitled Literature and Mental Health. The idea is to explore the way in which literature can be used to understand and help alleviate times of emotional stress and mental illness. During the past week we have looked at poems such as Yeats’ Lake Isle of Innisfree, Edward Thomas’ Adlestrop and Arnold’s Dover Beach. The highlight, however, was a half hour discussion between Jonathan Bate and Stephen Fry about the way in which poetry works and how that is important in respect of stress relief. It was far more informative than many a university lecture I’ve sat through.
The course is going on to consider heartbreak, bereavement, trauma, depression and bipolar disorder, and ageing and dementia. Although it has already started you are usually able to join late and the material is there online for you to catch up in your own time. This is something that I think a lot of my blogging friends would really enjoy and it would be worth people’s while to check it out even if you didn’t go through with it as it costs nothing to sign up to. My only reservation is that there isn’t a section on poetry to alleviate stomach bugs. My own thought on the subject is that whatever else they need to be short!