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Modernism

ENGL 210.401
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

This course will be an in-depth examination of the motivating forces behind the modernist movement in America and Europe, and its expression in literature, art, and dance. The modernist movement was a major cultural influence in the first half of the 20th century, in that it experimented with and reinvented ways of seeing history, gender, even religion. Modernism challenged pre-existing codes of cultural production and produced new forms of artistic expression across disciplines. We will read novels by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, and Djuna Barnes; poems by W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Wallace Stevens; and plays by Samuel Beckett and Sean O'Casey; we will view dances by Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Paul Taylor; and we will study paintings by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, and Mirot. We will also read theoretical works on the idea of modernism in literature and the arts. Our challenge will be to explore the innovations of modernism, and to identify the ways in which each cultural medium influenced the development of the others within the movement. Requirements are: one oral presentation, two short papers (3-5 pp.), one midterm paper (5-7 pp.), and one final seminar paper (10-12 pp.). Because this class will be conducted as a seminar, your constant participation in class is vital.