Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

The Twentieth Century

ENGL 104.001
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30

This is a general introduction to twentieth-century British literature, with special emphasis on the relation of literature to other cultural forms and on the relation of "high" or elite to "low" or popular culture. Poems, plays, and novels will be read in conjunction with contemporaneous reviews and essays which seek to place these texts on a tier of special, "literary" value. Other kinds of texts, such as rock 'n' roll records and TV comedy shows, will be examined in conjunction with contemporaneous statements on the value of "popular" culture. Ultimately, we will hope to arrive at a more complex understanding of twentieth-century culture than that which can only range artistic works from low to high on a grand hierarchy of value, and at a more complex understanding of artistic production and reception than that which can only divide works into the "elite" and the "popular" based on headcounting. Written work for the class will be one short essay of 5-6 pages and one longer essay of 10-12 pages. There will also be six brief quizzes and a comprehensive final exam.

(NOTE: This course is a General Requirement course in "Arts & Letters." The only General Requirement courses in English are 100, 101, 102 (not offered this term), 103, and 104.)