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Topics in Modernism

ENGL 210.402
instructor(s):
MW 3-4:30

As we approach the millennium, this course will take us Rback to the futureS as it was envisioned by writers and thinkers around the turn of our own century. Focusing on the technological, cultural and intellectual innovations that characterize the period (roughly 1890-1940), we will examine the implications and interrelations of modernismUs characteristic Rnew sciences,S among them, Freudian psychoanalysis, the early cinema, popular Darwinism and the technology of war. Special attention will be paid to the periodUs (and our own) fascination with the RnewS in all its forms, and to the phenomenon of modernism itself not only as an aesthetic movement or a distinct period in intellectual history, but also as a theoretical concept that remains vital in our own time and culture. Works to be studied will include those by H.G.Wells, Vico, Wilde, Beckett, Freud, Joyce, Benjamin, Woolf, Vertov, the Lumiere brothers, and Hitchcock. This course will follow a seminar format, with primary emphasis placed on class discussion. Requirements will include a mid-term essay, a final seminar paper and weekly reading responses.