Kevin Marzahl

2:30p-3:20p MWF (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

In 1930, critic and theorist I.A. Richards joined linguist C.K. Ogden in promoting a simplified international language called BASIC (“British American Scientific International Commercial”), which reduced English to 850 words. While English has become the global lingua franca for business and research that Ogden and Richards envisioned, it has done so not–or at least not only–through simplification but by becoming increasingly complex (a phenomenon inseparable from European colonial and American imperialist ventures) until, at the end of the twentieth century, Gary Snyder will pronounce this transformed “Franco- Germanic-Anglian creole known as English” a “kiva full of lore, to be studied and treasured by writers and scholars wherever they may find themselves on the planet.” We will trace this expansion and transformation of Anglophone literature–and its concomitant image of “the West”–over the turbulent course of the twentieth century through a set of texts from several genres (including “hybrids”) representative of larger mo(ve)ments under (post)modernity, including pan- and multi-culturalism, transatlantic cosmopolitanism, decolonization, and ethnopoetics. Regular attendance is expected, and the reading pace will sometimes be brisk. Assignments will include regular informal writing, two major essays, and a final exam.

Primary Texts:
Imagist Poetry: An Anthology (Dover Thrift ed.)
James Baldwin, No Name in the Street
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Alain Locke
Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker
Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary
Richard Powers, Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance
Salman Rushdie, East, West
The Gary Snyder Reader
Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust.
Plus essays by Jacques Derrida, Paulo Freire, Geoffrey Hartman, David Harvey, Lyn Hejinian, Yunte Huang, Fredric Jameson, Marjorie Perloff, Juliana Spahr, et al.