English | Literary Modernism
L380 | 2033 | Comentale
9:30a-10:45a TR (30) 3 cr
This course is devoted to the revolutionary thought and energy of
Anglo-Irish Modernism. To that extent, it will be concerned with the
activity of transgression as it occurs in the major work of the period.
First, we will explore modernism as it thematizes issues of social
revolution. We will consider the moderns' willingness to address topics
traditionally considered taboo and to reconceive ideals and norms defended
by officially-sponsored art. We will address the ways in which this
aspect of radical modernism provides an explicit aesthetic counterpart to
the feminist, nationalist, and labor movements of the period. Then, we
will move toward stylistic issues and discuss modernism as a defiance of
art's separation from the world of practical activity. We will explore
the ways in which painting, sculpture, poetry, and fiction were each
directed outside of themselves and into the public realm, whereby they
were meant to challenge and transform the status quo. We will consider
how collage, montage, irony, and objectivism presented serious, nearly
physical, affronts to early twentieth-century culture. Finally, we will
discuss the disruption of boundaries between the arts themselves. We will
explore how poets borrowed from sculptors, and novelists from painters,
and how this activity transformed the ways in which we consider language
today. This last aspect of the course will also allow us to look closely
at the formation of avant-garde movements and the creation of the
manifesto as the modernist artform par excellence.
Course material will most likely include the first issue of BLAST, Ford
Maddox Ford's THE GOOD SOLDIER, Rebecca West's THE RETURN OF THE SOLDIER,
Wyndham Lewis's Tarr, Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, and James
Joyce's PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN; poetry by Ezra Pound, T. S.
Eliot, W. B. Yeats, Mina Loy, H.D., Wilfred Owen, and Rupert Brooke;
paintings and sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, F. T.
Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp, Henri
Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein, David Bomberg, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry,
and Vanessa Bell.
This is a discussion-based course, so both attendance and participation
are mandatory. Students will be assigned two five-page papers, one
in-class presentation, and frequent written responses to the readings.