English | Twentieth Century British Literature
L749 | 26273 | Gubar

L749  26273  GUBAR (#5)
Twentieth Century British Literature

1:25p – 4:25p M

In a May 2008 PMLA essay on “The New Modernist Studies,” Douglas Mao
and Rebecca L. Walkowitz emphasize spatial and vertical expansions
of the field:  spatial expansions, which involve the so-called
transnational turn, produce conversations about a variety of geo-
political cultural interactions; vertical expansions direct
attention to popular mass media as well as to the mechanisms of
cultural production, dissemination, and reception.  For many
contemporary scholars, then, the evolution of modernist studies has
meant dealing, on the one hand, with artists and thinkers from new
multilingual contexts (in the Caribbean, eastern Europe, China,
South America) or, on the other, with undervalued media and genre
(journalism, propaganda, radio programs, popular music,
photography).  Some participants in this seminar may use their final
papers to attempt such work.  However, the syllabus will engage us
in understanding how canonical Anglo-American authors figure
differently with these new methodological lenses. Because of such
recent approaches as well as feminist and queer as well as post-
colonial methodologies, the rubric “British” in the title of this
course no longer holds sway, though we will focus for the most part
on “literature” composed, published, and reviewed during the first
few decades of the “twentieth century.”

Our pivotal figure will be Virginia Woolf, whose critical and
creative works will be paired with those produced by her Anglo-
American contemporaries. More specifically, we will explore Woolf’s
responses to the key issues of her day—the women’s movement, the
Great War, imperialism, the emergence of a visible homosexual
community, and the rise of fascism—comparing them to those of Mina
Loy, Nella Larsen, W. E. B. Du Bois, T. S. Eliot, Wilfred Owen,
Katharine Mansfield, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Foster, George Orwell,
Aldous Huxley, Nancy Cunard, Radclyffe Hall, Katherine Burdekin, and
H.D.  Working with e-reserve, Oncourse, JStore, and Muse throughout
the term, we will also be asking about the pedagogic and research
uses of digitalization in the modernist period.

Neither interviews nor prerequisites are required for this class and
students are not presumed to be experts in the field.  Those who
wish to read in advance might start with Woolf’s A Room of One’s
Own, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and Three Guineas.
During the semester, participants will be asked to produce two one-
page summaries of a recent critical response to the text under
discussion.  This will allow us as a group to comprehend the
critical conversations swirling around each of the canonical texts
we study.  To facilitate the production of a final research paper,
we will devote two weeks of the semester to a workshop in which
drafts of work-in-progress will be distributed and (I hope)
strengthened by the group’s feedback.  Final papers will be due
during finals week.