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Topics in Modernism

ENGL 210.401
instructor(s):
R 2-5:00

In this course we shall explore certain intriguing affinities between three great modern writers. Although Joyce and Kafka were essentially unaware of each other, there are parallels between their works. We shall ask ourselves to what extent these literary echoes reflect the comparable cultural quandries of anglicized Dublin intellectualls and assimilated Central European Jews. In the case of Beckett, how did he outgrow his obsession with the work of his fellow Irishman Joyce and develop an inimitable style of his own? Beckett is also known to have read several works by Kafka. In exploring this literary affininity, we shall focus on neglected qualities in both writers e.g. te wry sense of humor of these two modern masters, who are often portrayed as unrelieved perveyors of gloom and doom. Among the works we shall read are Joyce's "The Dead" and "Portrait of the Artist", Beckett's "Watt" and "Waiting for Godot", Kafka's "The Judgement" and "The Castle"(in a new translation by the instructor)