ENGL 293
"Make it New": The Modernist Experiment Spring 2025
Division I Writing Skills

Class Details

In her essay “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” (1924), Virginia Woolf proposed that around 1910 “human character” itself had suddenly changed, rendering existing conventions “in religion, conduct, politics, and literature” no longer adequate to express the new age. “And so the smashing and the crashing began. Thus it is that we hear all around us, in poems and novels . . . the sound of breaking and falling, crashing and destruction.” This course will explore the effort of artists in the decade or so before and after World War I to “make it new.” We will read work by Conrad, Yeats, Frost, Pound, Joyce, T.S.Eliot, Mansfield, Woolf, Faulkner, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams and others, and chart the range of innovative narrative and formal strategies Modernist writers adopted in their efforts to represent consciousness, experience, memory and the objective world more fully and accurately in an era of massive social, political and technological change. We will also consider some non-print media, including developments in the visual arts from the post-impressionists through to the surrealists, the work of the Bahaus, and early experiments in film.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3624
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Active class participation; three papers rising from 3-7 pages; regular short reading responses
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Students who have declared or are considering English or Comparative Literature majors; students who have taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: Three papers rising from 3-7 pages; regular short reading responses. Students will receive comprehensive feedback on their writing, and opportunities for revision.
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses
ENGL Literary Histories C

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