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Modernism and the Theory of Fashion

ENGL 259.401
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

 This class will take as its theme international modernism in literature and the arts from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. The specific focus will be the emergence of a concept of the "new" that can also be seen as "new fashion." The rise of modernism was accompanied by a self-conscious discourse on fashion, first put forward by Baudelaire and Mallarmé. We will study the social uses of the "new" in the context of the fashion industry; using the cultural history of "fashion" as developed by Lehman in Tigersprung. Baudelaire and MallarmÇ will lead us to explore the ideas of Simmel; Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin. We will read Aragon's s groundbreaking Surrealist novel Paris Peasant, Benjamin's entire Arcades Project and Barthes's Fashion System.