English | Literary Interpretation
L202 | 2924 | Judith Brown
L202 LITERARY INTERPRETATION
PREREQUISITE: Completion of the English Composition requirement.
Open to majors and declared minors only.
2924 - 4:00p-5:15p TR (25 students) 3 cr., A&H, IW.
“Make it new!” proclaimed Ezra Pound, an early twentieth-century
poet and advocate for the emerging modernist movement. The slogan
stuck and a new century of literature began with the demand for
originality. Newness was at a premium in the first decades of the
century – but what did it mean to be an original? In this class we
will investigate the notion of originality: What is it? What is
its relationship to the old? Or the new? What is its relationship
to creativity and what we call the creative process? Can there even
be such a thing as the new, or has it all been said before? We will
look at a number of articulations of the new, beginning with some
early century examples of the avant-garde (the dada movement, etc.)
and moving onto some key twentieth century works in literature. We
will think about the relationship between the original and copy: is
a painting more original than a photograph, for example? Or is a
sculpture more original than a ready-made? Finally, we will
consider some paired texts, including Virginia Woolf’s great
modernist work, Mrs. Dalloway, with Michael Cunningham’s The Hours,
and William Carlos Williams’ poem, “To Elsie,” with Allen Ginsberg’s
Howl. This is a writing intensive class that will be discussion-
based and committed to original thinking about the problems of
originality. Course work will include a mid-term exam and several
essays, with revision.