Jessica L. Burstein
This course does four things: orient the student with an overview of British modernism circa 1900-1930; provide a general background for modernity torqued toward aesthetics; engage some current critical conversations in the field of literary modernism; and allow focus on the work of particular authors.
The class is loosely organized around two heuristic rubrics, minds and matter: we will engage the topoi of embodiment and materiality, with particular attention to the status of mind or mindedness on the one hand and the modernist object on the other. Along the way the student will get a grip on the historical avant-gardes of Vorticism and Imagism—that's history—and some sense of how to do research in periodical studies, arguably one of the major legacies we have from the era—that's methodology and history.
Texts include prose (Conrad's The Secret Agent; Ford's Good Soldier, West's The Return of the Soldier; a story by Woolf), poetry (Loy, Pound, Eliot), essays and manifestos, and perhaps Wyndham Lewis's Tarr if a decent copy is available (there are several issues floating about and only one is worthy at the introductory level, by my lights).
Students will write a 1,000 word book review of a critical monograph published 2010-13; and a 20 page final research paper.
Suggested pre-class reading: A canter through Levenson's The Genealogy of Modernism for theory and Ekstein's Rites of Spring for event would be appropriate break reading. Too, check out The Modernist Journals Project online—try Blast under "journals": http://dl.lib.brown.edu:8081/exist/mjp/index.xml.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading