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Whose Ordinary: Modernism and Its Others

ENGL 788.301
T 9-12


The seminar will weave itself in, around, and through a select group of modernist and contemporary works to explore the pursuit of, and aversion to, the ordinary in relation to the dialectical, dialogical, ideological, and ideolectical, with special reference to the vernacular, assimilation / anti-assimilation, second-language speakers, schtick, vaudeville, the comedic, the emergence of popular music in the context of folk music, and the blues. A key theme will be the project, among the poets, to avoid reification either of the poem or the poem's subject. The philosophical context for this will include Wittengenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Cavell's In Search of the Ordinary, Deleuze & Guattari's Toward a Minor Literature, Peter Nicholls' Modernisms, Goffman's Frame Analysis, and Basil Bernsten's Class Codes and Control. The readings and "listening" (there will be much recorded material) will consist primarily of short selections of poems (and sometimes essays) organized around several core topics: The Everyday (Baudelaire, Williams, Stevens, Creeley, Hannah Weiner, Schuyler); Dialectic of Dialect (Dunbar, Stein, McKay, J.W. Johnson, Tolson, Brown, Hughes, Vachel Lindsay, Fanny Brice, W.C. Handy, Charley Patton, Toomer, Oscar Hammerstein II, Gershwin/Heywood, Paul Robeson, Cole Porter, Eliot, McCaffery's tr. of Marx, Rothenberg's "Horse Songs", Harryette Mullen, David Antin); MacDiarmid and Bunting; Second Wave/Objectivists Plus (Reznikoff, Oppen, Zukofsky, Loy, Neidecker, Riding); Ideolect (Mallarme, Khlebnikov, Schwitters, Abraham Lincoln Gillespie, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Cab Calloway's scat, Coolidge, Melnick, Inman, Mac Low). Course in formation and subject to change, please consult course webpage for updates.

Fulfills #3 requirement.


fulfills requirements