Literature of World War I
This is not the current course catalog
The summer of 2014 marks the centennial of World War I, an historical cataclysm that caused over 37 million casualties, precipitated several revolutions and the fall of four empires, led directly to World War II, and shattered the fantasy of irreversible, peaceable progress for European civilization. The Great War also provoked startling new modes of literature, as artists strove to respond to the unprecedented horrors of trench warfare and to traumatic social and political transformations. In this course we will explore the War and the social and cultural upheavals it precipitated, as represented in historical texts and reflected in the poetry of Owen, Sassoon, Blunden, Graves, and Jones; in such novels as Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Ford’s Parade’s End, Hasek’s The Good Soldier Svejk, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; and in films by such directors as Renoir, Milestone, Eisenstein, and Kubrick. We will examine the contrasts in these texts between the War and the misleadingly idyllic years preceding it, and between the trenches and a domestic life which was tantalizingly nearby and psychically distant. We will also explore some of the revolutionary movements triggered by the War, and the domestic upheavals in class and gender relations and in sexual and other social norms that accompanied the War and marked a rupture in European civilization.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: regular class participation and two 8- to 10-page papers
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.
Enrollment Preference: English majors
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
Distributions: Division I;