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Greenwich Village: The Two American Avant-Gardes

ENGL 471.900
M 5-8

This course will investigate the cultural, literary, artistic, and theatrical life centered in Greenwich Village following the First and the Second World Wars. These two postwar periods each constitutes a vigorous local renaissance of creative productivity in America that affected all the arts, and Greenwich Village provided a lively stage for the enactment of that renaissance. The class will examine avant garde movements and events in art such as the Ashcan School of painting, and Armory Show, the Patterson Strike Pageant, and the New York School of Abstract Expressionism; theatre movements such as the Provincetown Players, off-and off-off-Broadway; and new experiments in poetry and fiction represented by writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, John O'Hara, John Ashberry, and others. We will frame our investigation by mapping the unique social and cultural geography of Greenwich Village as a site for experimenting in radically new ways of living and making art. The class will include a field trip to the Village.