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The Twentieth Century

ENGL 104.401
TR 1:30-3

This is a general introduction to twentieth-century British and American 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. We will read some of the most challenging and academically respected works of the century, including Eliot's The Waste Land and Joyce's Ulysses, along with some of the contemporaneous reviews and essays that served to promote these texts as exemplary works of Modernism. But we will also consider some works whose cultural status is much lower or less stable, including works by women and minority authors and a few works of popular music and film. Our broad aim will be to learn not only about the literature and culture of this century but about how determinations of literary and cultural value are arrived at. Written work for the class will be one short essay of 5-6 pages (with a required revision and resubmission) and one longer essay of 10-12 pages. There will also be six brief quizzes and a comprehensive final exam.