English 479: Modernism -- Course Syllabus

Dr. Mary Adams, Instructor
Office hours MWF 12:00 - 1:00; TTH 2:00 - 3:15 or by appointment
Office is CO 420; x. 3930

main page

Modernism Links

Cubism Index
Webmuseum: Cubism to Abstract Art
Picasso Sites

Virginia Woolf Web
Kafka Photo Album
Fritz Lang's Metropolis
Futurism: Manifestos and Other Resources
General Resources on Modernism
Modern Theater
Wallace Stevens
Modern/ Postmodern timeline

Texts for Purchase (Total approx. $37.00 + tax. Available at City Lights)
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. W.W. Norton. $9.95.
Baudelaire, Charles. Selections from Les Fleurs du Mal. Dover Thrift Editions. $1.00.
Camus, Albert. The Plague. Trans. Stuart Gilbert. Vintage books. $11.00.
Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. Dover Thrift Editions. $2.00
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. W.W. Norton. $8.95.
Kafka. Selected Stories. Dover Thrift Editions. $1.00.
Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives. Dover Thrift Editions. $2.00.
Wells, H.G. The Time Machine. Dover Thrift Editions. $1.00

Texts on Reserve (this list may change)
Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. (NAMP)
 Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. (2 copies; 3 more in library. You can order this through City Lights, if you wish).
From Modernism to Postmodernism: an Anthology.
The Modern Tradition. (MT)
Black Literature in America.( BLA)
The Gender of Modernism. (GM)
Hamberger, Michael. Modern German Poetry. (MGP).
Apollinaire. The Cubist Painters. (CP)
Brecht, B. Mother Courage and her Children. (MCC)
Sokel, Walter. Anthology of German Expressionist Drama. (AGED)
Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide (AGD)
Crane, Hart. The Bridge. Edited by Waldo Frank.
Henning, Edward. Fifty Years of Modern Art.(FYMA)
Motherwell, Robert. The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology (DPP)

Movie Events (required--approx. 7 this semester)
These will be shown about every two weeks outside class.  Everyone is expected to attend.

Assessment of Grade
Comprehensive Exams (3 including final) 25%
Weekly Reading Journal 10%
Creative Project, Survey of Movement, or Bibliographical Essay 15%
Oral Presentation of Above Project 10%
Seminar paper (approx. 10-15 papers).  20%
Participation 20%
After four absences, you will be penalized one letter grade for each additional absence. Tardiness is disruptive and should be avoided. I will create a tardiness policy if necessary.

Any instances of plagiarism will result in failure of the assignment, and may result in failure of the course.
If you don't know plagiarism is, you had better ask. Ignorance of the law is no defense!

Assessment of Grade -- Explanation

Weekly Reading Journal
Every Monday, you will receive 3 journal questions for the week. You must do two of them, and they are due the following Monday. They should be kept in a folder with brads, not a large three-ring notebook. I will date stamp your entries and return them. I will collect and read the journal 2-3 times throughout the term, so you should always bring it to class.

Creative Project, Survey of Movement, or Biliographical Essay
You have several choices for this essay, which should involve substantial research. The project should be approximately 10 pages long (unless it is a performance) and should contain a bibliography. Your topic should be worked out with some guidance by me, and I should okay all topics.
1.  Creative Project: This might be an essay, story, poem, or play in the style of a certain movement (futurism, dadaism, cubism, expressionism, surrealism, existentialism), a group of paintings, or a film. You would need to okay the topic with me. Your goal would be to demonstrate that you have used research to gain a subtantial understanding of the artist, period, or movement.
2.  Survey of a Movement: This would be a researched exploration of a particular movement (futurism, dadaism, cubism, expressionism, surrealism, existentialism), and may be limited to a particular country. The goal would be to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of the background of one aspect of modernism.
3.  Bibliographic Essay: This essay would focus on an individual author and/ or work, and would be an exploration and summary of recent criticism about this work. The essay might usefully be limited to one type of criticism, such as feminist, marxist, reader-response, or historicist. You may pick an author on the syllabus, or you may choose to select someone we are not covering.

Oral Presentation of Above Topic
This would be a 15-20 minute presentation to the class of the project above. You may choose to perform your creative project, do a short lecture on the period, or explain the direction of the criticism you have read. Your presentation will be evaludated based on interest, orginality, visual aids (including video, slides, audio, or powerpoint or other computer-assisted aids), organization and clarity, and above all, your ability to place the author or movement in the context of other works we have read in this course, making connections for your peers. This presentation will be given sometime during the second half of the semester; you and I will select a date for it when we select your topic.

Seminar Paper
This paper will be a 10-20 page research paper with an original thesis. It could be on a single author, or it could be a comparison of different authors. You will have a lot of latitude for your topic, but I have to approve it, and you will have to meet deadlines throughout the semester for research, outlines, notes, thesis, and final draft. You might want to investigate the relationship between a "high" modernist and a "popular" modernist; you might investigate misogynist rhestoric in modernist theory; you may want to examine what we mean by "modernism," especially when applied to "unofficial" or counter-modernisms such as African American, popular, or sentimental literature (or you may want to consider whether such movements are truly "modernist" at all); or you may want to explore connections between literature and some aspect of visual, plastic, or musical arts.

Course Schedule -- Subject to Much Revision
W 1/15 Whitman & Dickinson NAMP
F 1/17 Marx & Engels: "Bourgeois & Proletarians"  
Nietzsche "Death of God,"  
Freud "Civilization & its Discontents"
M 1/20 Martin Luther King Holiday
W 1/22 Saussure "Course in Linguistics," Karl Nicholas, lecturer MPM
F 1/24 Marinetti "Futurist Manifesto" MPM
M 1/27 Baudelaire Les Fleurs du Mal, "Temple" MT
W 1/29 Apollinaire "Pure Painting", "Phantom" MT
F 1/31 Kokoschka Murder the Woman's Hope, Job
M 2/3 Brecht Mother Courage and her Children
W 2/5 ""                                                                   ""
F 2/7 Picasso "Art as Individual Idea,"  
Malraux "Art as Modern Absolute:
M 2/10 Rilke poems, Trakl poems MGP
W 2/12 Sartre "Existence Preceeds Essence;" "Choice in a World w/out God"  
Camus "Fact", "Absurd Freedom"  
Tilich "Meaning of Meaninglessness"
F 2/14 Camus The Plague
M 2/17 ""                                                     ""
W 2/19 Millay, Wylie selected NAMP
F 2/21 Comprehensive Test One
M 2/24 Santayana "An Allegory," Guide, "Salvation on Earth" MT
W 2/26 Wallace Stevens & Romantic Modernism NAMP
F 2/28 ""                                                           ""
M 3/3 Stein Three Lives
W 3/5  Wells The Time Machine
F 3/7 Huyssen "Hidden Dialectic", "Vamp" AGD
M 3/10 Spring Holiday
M 3/17 Pound "Vorticism, " "Imagism", The poems of H.D. MT, NAMP
W 3/19 Frazier, "Fisher King"  
Schlegel, "Ironic Consciousness",  
Eliot "Tradition and the Individual Talent"
F 3/21 T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland NAMP