Introduction to twentieth-century literature from a broadly cultural point of view, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments since 1900.
For WINTER 2003: Modernism and the Masses. One of the ways that so-called Modernist literature of the early twentieth century is typically identified is by its ambivalence about mass culture, and for its critiques of popular institutions. While the figure of the aloof and critical artist is easy enough to conjure, this course takes a broader approach to "the Masses" in Anglo-American Modernist literature. Through novels, short fiction, journals and critical essays, we will examine the ways in which "the Masses" are manifested and implicated in the agendas and representations of Modernists writing during a period where the growth and modernization of mass culture was changing the lives of both individuals and entire populations. Specifically, we'll explore what these literary representations mean for conceptions of popular politics and democracy, the location of identity and dissent, and the meanings of mass culture and its institutions for individuals. We'll also think about how these texts position themselves within mass culture, and how they might suggest other popular cultures, or alternatives. Also, what do these critiques mean for us today?
Class Assignments and Grading