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1922: Long, Forgotten, Untimely

ENGL 773.401
crosslisted as: COML 767
instructor(s):
Wednesday 3:30-6:30pm

1922 is widely regarded as the annus mirabilis or “wonder year” of international modernism, the year in which landmark works including T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, James Joyce’s Uysses, D. H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod, Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Other Stories, Marcel Proust’s Sodom et Gomorrhe, and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room were published. In this seminar we’ll mark the centenary of 1922 by studying some of these works in whole or in part. But we’ll also use the occasion to examine the construction and ramifications of this particular wonder year, to shine a critical sidelight on the politics and temporality of punctual commemoration, and to explore pedagogical and methodological alternatives. Some questions we’ll pursue: what forgotten or under-consecrated works published in the same year, including works by non-white, non-Western, and non-settler authors, might complicate and perhaps decolonize narratives about it as an apogee of modernism? What are the limitations and affordances of constraining oneself to the archive of a year? What longer energies and period arcs ran through this particular year? In what ways could we say that 1922—that any year—refuses to correspond to itself or hold still under scrutiny?