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Interwar Epic

ENGL 765.401
instructor(s):
W 3-6

 

 This seminar will consider the flourishing of modern epic between 1918 and 1939, attempting to situate a handful of primary texts in relation to emerging doctrines, practices, experiences, and prospects of total war. We will be thinking about how modern epic responds to changes in the spatial extensivity of warfare. But temporality will be a major focus as well, given the genre¹s fascination with the memory and legacy of the Great War and with questions of futurity, from probability to prophecy to apocalypse. We will also explore interwar epic's relationship with other putatively total genres such as the mass-observation daybook, the Baedeker, and the encyclopedia. Primary readings will likely include Joyce, Woolf, Ford, Döblin, Musil, West; secondary readings by Lukács, Bakhtin, Mendelson, Jameson, and Moretti.