COMP 349 Spring 2014 The Problem of Modernity and the Modernist Imagination (W)

Cross Listed as ENGL350
Historically, "modernity" refers roughly to the last four centuries, a time that saw the rise of the scientific revolution, market economies, industrialized production, and mass democracy. Such developments radically altered the world, producing, for many, a disorienting experience of rupture with tradition and the past. All, to be sure, in the name of progress, for the Enlightenment regarded modernity as a fundamentally moral project, one promising to reduce human suffering by means of science and technology, to increase the authority of reason in public life, and to extend individual rights to ever more classes of people. At the same time, however, the Enlightenment cast unacknowledged shadows of its own making: distinctively modern ills like colonial exploitation, mechanized warfare, and widespread feelings of rootlessness and anomie. Progress and good bound up so tightly with loss and evil, it is no wonder that modernity struck (and still strikes) many living through it as a "problem": is modernity a good, but unfinished, project? Or is it, rather, some kind of fateful error, which will lead to the devastation of the natural world without, and human nature within? Will it make us freer and our lives more meaningful? Or is the freedom it promises chimerical? And can life any longer have real meaning in an impersonal world dominated by mass culture and technology? Such anxious doubts haunt modernity, and late 19th and early 20th-century texts that give them forceful expression will be the focus of this tutorial, including: Freud's Civilization and its Discontents, Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals, Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment, James' The Portrait of a Lady, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Beckett's Endgame.
Class Format: tutorial; students will meet with the instructor in pairs for an hour each week
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet with the instructor in pairs for an hour each week; they will write a 5- to 7-page paper every other week (five in all), and comment on their partners' papers in alternate weeks
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Writing Intensive
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Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 3765
COMP349-T1(S) TUT Problem of Modrnity &Mod Img (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Bernard J. Rhie
TBA 3765
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