Fulfills General Requirement in Arts and Letters
The figure of technology looms over the twentieth century, whether the context is media, food production, medicine, or armaments, to name but a few. As such, this course will focus on texts from the 20th century that examine the role that technological advances have played in literary, political, social, and historical debates during the century. Has technology made life better or worse or some combination? In what ways has it affected how people think about themselves, others, and the world around them? To understand how authors have answered these questions will entail engaging not only with the content of these works (what a particular text says about technology), but also with the form of these works (how the text represents technology and its effects). Works read for the course will be drawn from those of Bram Stoker, Sinclair Lewis, Primo Levi, Oe Kenzaburo, Vittorio De Sica, Flannery O'Connor, Dalton Trumbo, Nathanael West, Ralph Ellison, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Rebecca West. Class sessions will be structured as a mixture of lecture and discussion in which student participation is a must; and there will be two formal essays (one five pages, one seven to ten pages).