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This subject examines modernism, a revolution in literature and other arts that took place between roughly 1890 and 1950. Modernism was an international and experimental enterprise, at once highly local and truly global, emerging in sites as diverse as Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Buenos Aires — as well as between them. In lieu of surveying every major modernist writer, we will emphasize a number of significant figures and movements. Students will learn about movements and contexts such as Dada, Futurism, Surrealism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Francophone Négritude movement, and the queer enclaves of Paris’s Left Bank. Course readings will be drawn from a range of genres, including novels, short fiction, essays, poetry, plays, and manifestos by writers such as Walter Benjamin, Aimé Césaire, Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein, and will touch on other arts, such as cinema, music, and painting.
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 modernist 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 engendered;
- 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: 17 August 2023