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Transatlantic Modernism

ENGL 359.301

This course will review the much-discussed and debated history of "modernism" as an artistic category and a historical movement. Along with close examination of individual texts and other materials, we will explore such issues as the changing meanings of modernism over the past eight or so decades; the connections between modernist aesthetic practice and the contested ideologies of the early twentieth century; the exclusions that have necessarily been entailed by modernism's selective inclusions; and – inevitably – what is/was postmodernism?

Primary sources will include fictional and non-fictional texts, along with representative examples of painting, architecture and music. Among the authors to be included: Henry James, Henry Adams, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Sigmund Freud, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos. We will also examine (in translation) at least two contemporaneous non-anglophone writers whose work may permit some additional perspective on the subjects under study: Franz Kafka and Lu Xun.

Secondary sources (located on the reserve shelf in the library) will include a number of historical and theoretical studies that illuminate the shifting emphases and imperatives in modernist scholarship.

Requirements will include: (1) regular attendance and participation in class discussion; (2) an oral report on one of the primary texts; (3) a research essay of twelve pages due near the end of the term. Detailed instructions with respect to (2) and (3) will be distributed at the first class.

fulfills requirements
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major