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Modernist Heroes

ENGL 210.401
instructor(s):
TR 9-10:30

This class will be devoted to the exploration of a specific type of hero in the age of modernism. We will explore the genealogy of the modernist hero and anti-hero, going from Carlyle's concept of "Hero-Worship" to conceptions of religion and nationalism. We will also question the esthetic and ethical categories associated with dominant representations of the modernist hero. We will explore a few texts by Conrad, Joyce, Stein, Ayn Rand, and Samuel Beckett. We will use a few theoretical or historical texts by Freud, Rank, Tyrus Miller on Late Modernism and a few others so as to understand the libidinal economy implied by the Hero, from "daydreams" and projections into fictional heroic figures to the logic of sublimation.

The main texts read will be: Conrad Lord Jim, James Joyce Stehen Hero and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Faulkner As I lay Dying, Gertrude Stein The Making of Americans, Ayn Rand Fountainhead, Samuel Beckett Murphy and Watt.

Requirements: Two papers of ten pages, one oral presentation, no final exam.