COMP 200 European Modernism--and Its Discontents

Last offered Spring 2014

What is/was Modernism? An artistic movement? A new dynamic and sensibility? A transformative response to changed conditions? All these and more? This course will attempt to deal with such issues via examination of certain key works spanning the years 1850-1930. Topics to be considered: the rise of industrial capitalism and the literary market, advances in science and technology, urban alienation and social conflict, anti-"bourgeois" stances, the displacement of religion, the fragmented self, the proliferation of multiple perspectives, the breaks with the past and privileging of the present, and the horrors of war. To be studied: poetry by Baudelaire, Yeats, and Neruda; prose fiction by Dostoevsky, Kafka, Proust, Joyce, and Woolf; drama by Beckett; Futurist and Surrealist manifestoes; German Expressionist films; and theoretical writings by Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Ortega y Gasset, and Benjamin. In addition, select portions of Bell-Villada's Art for Art's Sake and Literary Life and Peter Gay's Modernism will serve as general background to the course. All readings in English.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, brief weekly journals, one class presentation, three 6-page papers, a mid-term, and a final
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Prerequisites: none; first-year students must consult with the instructor before registering for this course
Enrollment Preference: students considering a major in Comparative Literature
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 20
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 3628
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COMP 200 LEC European Modernism Division 1: Languages and the Arts Gene H. Bell-Villada
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