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This subject examines modernism, the movement in literature and other arts that lasted from roughly 1890 to 1950. Rather than trying to survey every major modernist writer, we will emphasize a number of significant figures and movements. Course readings will include novels, short fiction, essays, poetry, plays, and manifestos by writers such as James Joyce (on whose Ulysses we will spend two weeks), August Strindberg, W.B. Yeats, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Aimé Césaire, and Jean Genet. In addition to working across genres, our course, like modernism, will work across national literatures. Students will learn about modernist movements and contexts such as dada, futurism, surrealism, symbolism, expressionism, theatre of the absurd, the African-American cultural revolution known as the Harlem Renaissance, the francophone négritude movement, and the queer enclaves of Paris’s Left Bank and New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of representative examples of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts;
- articulate the relationship between decadent literary works and the social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
- apply high-level analysis, conceptual sophistication and critical thinking to the study of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts and the controversies they;
- contribute to the understanding of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts in ways that engage the interests of the discipline of literary studies;
- effectively communicate an understanding of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts and their contexts in both written and oral formats; and
- have gained an understanding of how to act as critically informed participants within a community of literature scholars, as citizens and in the work force at large.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;
- be able to develop persuasive arguments on a given topic; and
- be able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.
Last updated: 3 October 2023