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Modernisms: 1922/2022

ENGL 259.301
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30 pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

 

The year 1922 saw the birth of modernist masterpieces like In Search of Lost Time, Ulysses, The Castle and The Waste Land. The focus of this class will be a systematic and synchronic study of that year taken as a slice of global cultural history including developments in the arts (music, painting, film), politics, philosophy, sciences and technology. We will also pose the question of the relevance of these works for the future. Were those masterpieces meant to last for more than a century? Will they still be taught in 2022, and if so, how? If 1922 ushered in the production of the radically new, at the same time, it entailed a return to a “modern classicism.” We will wonder whether the original mixture of the new and of tradition (which is what we call “modernism”) can be the classicism of the future. We will study in their historical contexts selections from In Search of Lost Time, Ulysses, The Castle,The Duino Elegies, The Enormous Room, Geography and Plays, Jacob’s Room, The Garden Party, Life and Death of Harriet Frean, and The Waste Land, while each time attempting to capture the element of futurity contained in them. Requirements: two short papers (8 pages), one research paper (12 pages) and one oral presentation.