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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca S. Rauve
ENGL 498
Seattle Campus

Senior Seminar

Seminar study of special topics in language and literary study. Limited to seniors majoring in English.

Class description

This course is titled "The Perils of Presence: Time and Timelessness in British Modernism." Like our own age, early Twentieth-Century Britain was both infatuated with and alarmed by the notion of immediate experience--the state of pure presence without a sense of past or future. Even as some writers depicted the blissful sense of oneness accompanying such a state, others were asking, what becomes of history and tradition if too great an emphasis is given to presence? What becomes of the other and the objective world? We'll consider the treatment of time in Richardson's "Pointed Roofs," Woolf's "To the Lighthouse," excerpts from Joyce's "Ulysses," short stories by Mansfield and Lawrence, and poems by Eliot and Yeats. In addition, we'll read contemporaneous critical writing that dealt with the problem of time: Bergson's account of duration, Wyndham Lewis' critique of duration, Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent," and more (to be supplied in a course pack). Finally, we'll consider the Modernist debate about pure presence in light of work by more contemporary theorists such as Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida.

Student learning goals

In this course you will enhance your skill as a reader, writer and researcher by getting plenty of practice at all of these skills.

You will gain in-depth knowledge of transnational issues crucial to the formation of Modern literature.

You will become conversant with some key texts by prominent contemporary theorists (We'll be reading excerpts from Levinas' "Time and The Other," Derrida's "Speech and Phenomena" and more.)

General method of instruction

Most of our class time will be devoted to discussion of assigned texts; however, in addition you'll have the opportunity to select a writer to investigate more deeply. After reading two book-length texts of your choice by or about that writer, you'll give a presentation about him or her to the class. Your other main task will be to write a term paper no less than 15 pages in length addressing some course-related problem or issue that interests you. (Shorter writing assignments throughout the quarter will help you to identify your topic and be ready to write an extended argument about it.)

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

See above, "Method of Instruction."

Grades will be based on presentations and papers, as well as class participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rebecca S. Rauve
Date: 10/26/2007