Themes and topics offering special approaches to literature.
This seminar offers a cross-section of some of the key works of, and debates surrounding, modernism in literature, film and painting. Some of the key issues to be discussed include: ekphrasis, the transparency/opacity of language, disillusionment and isolation, perspectivism, cultural instability, psychology and the self, spectatorship, questioning of traditional modes, representations of reality, pessimism/nihilism/existentialism and mass culture.
Literature: Balzac, Huysmans, Stein, Kafka, Moore, Woolf, Williams, Dos Passos, Rhys, H. Miller
Art: Alfred Stieglitz circle, Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism, Expressionism, Surrealism, New York School
Film: Wiene, Keaton, Leger, Man Ray, Dreyer, Vertov, Bunuel, Chaplin, Chuck Jones
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
For each of the works considered in this course, we will examine their interrelationships and their formal and conceptual inventiveness. We will also consider the wider implications (artistic, social, political and cultural) of our findings. In particular, the seminar will focus on modernism as a mode of writing, painting and film-making in which certain questions of the modern, the new and their relations to tradition are posed.
This course will include in-class film screenings.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly discussion questions; Oral research presentation; Annotated bibliography; Two, short theoretical analysis papers; Final essay