Instructor: Philip Fisher Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12-1:15pm Course Website Topics include: modernism; aesthetic experience; the life of art; the city; and novelistic form; the moment and memory within temporal experiences. Joyce, Dubliners and Ulysses; Proust, Swann's Way; and Within a Budding Grove; Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse; Kawabata, Snow Country. Writings of Pater, Simmel, T.S. Eliot, and sections from The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.
Instructor: Derek Miller Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:30-11:45am Course Website Cultural education usually occurs piecemeal: a novel from this period, a poem from that. Cultural works are not, however, truly isolated from each other, but rather appear as artifacts of cultural systems. This course uses cultural works to understand a single cultural system: Broadway since 1940. Comparative analyses of musical and non-musical plays will illuminate how Broadway has changed over the past seventy-five years. We will attend to economic, social, technological, and other transformations in how Broadway makes, markets, and measures its shows. Through our explorations of some of those shows, we will grasp the system’s effects on major dramaturgical strategies including approaches to plot, characterization, and staging. The course thus simultaneously surveys major works of the commercial American theater, narrates a history of Broadway since 1940, and models how to think about the relationship between that history of the Broadway system and the works it produces.
Speaking of James Joyce’s Ulysses, T.S. Eliot confessed: “I wish, for my own sake, that I had not read it.” How does one write literature after Joyce’s revolutionary prose? This course explores different authors’ responses to that challenge. You will be introduced to one of the most influential authors of the 20th century through selected readings from Joyce’s key works: Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake (excerpts). After immersing ourselves in Joyce’s oeuvre, we will track its afterlife in literature (Virginia Woolf, Zadie Smith), graphic narrative (Chris Ware, Alison Bechdel), and popular culture.
In this class, we will examine novels and short stories published since 1945 in Britain and the United States. Though certain themes naturally emerge -- belonging and not belonging; immigration and emigration; estrangement, race and post-colonial politics; liberalism and the importance of "noticing" others; the role of realism and the various postmodern movements in reaction to realism -- the primary emphasis is on learning how to read slowly, and learning how to enjoy, appreciate and properly judge a living, contemporary literature.
Close readings of major 20th-century writers in the context of cultural history. (I) From the Harlem Renaissance to the Federal Writers' Project: Alain Locke, Jean Toomer, Claude McKay, Jessie Fauset, George Schuyler, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright. (II) From World War II to the present: Ralph Ellison, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Charles Johnson, Rita Dove, Colson Whitehead, Paul Beatty.
This course introduces students to the poetry, literary prose, and artful correspondence of one of the major poets of the twentieth century, considering her innovations in all these genres. We will look at her writing in multiple genres alongside the mid-century shift from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ verse forms, and relate stylistic issues to the intellectual and social changes, and political and historical developments of the period. Bishop’s critique of received ideas about nationality, race, power, gender, sexual orientation, and the overlap between culture and nature, is connected with her status as a cosmopolitan poet with links to Canada, the U.S. and Brazil. ‘Others’ refers both to how her writing comes to terms with the (sociopolitical) reality of other people, and to the comparisons we’ll draw between her writing and that of other poets.
What does is it mean to be, or feel as, a woman? This course will survey major female authors from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who ask these questions in their novels, plays, and essays. In our lectures, we will move through literary explorations of womanhood in Modernism, to Expressionism, the Feminist movements, and on to contemporary questions of trauma, reproductive rights, love, activism, sexuality and gender identity, race, sexual exploitation and abuse, camaraderie, unity, and comedy. Authors include Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Djuna Barnes, Sally Rooney, Alice Birch, Elena Ferrante, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Final assignment will be a creative project of your own design based on course themes and materials.
Virginia Woolf, novelist, essayist, feminist and critic, was at the center of a remarkable group of creative intellectuals who changed the course of the 20th century—and the present day. Her sister was the artist Vanessa Bell, her husband the political writer and publisher Leonard Woolf, her lifelong friends included the biographer Lytton Strachey, the economist John Maynard Keynes, the painter Duncan Grant, and the art historians Roger Fry and Clive Bell. Together with G.E. Moore, E.M. Forster, Bertrand Russell, Desmond MacCarthy, Vita Sackville-West, and Lydia Lopokova, the members of this powerful coterie were innovators — not only pioneers in their fields but also witty commentators and skilled critics across the disciplines. Not content to change merely the arts and letters of the 20th century, these intimate friends were also social pioneers: some were openly queer, some openly polyamorous, most outrageously iconoclastic, and all radically insistent on the equality of the sexes. They have come to be known as The Bloomsbury Group, named after the area in London where many of them lived and worked. This course will look at the works these people created across the spectrum of the arts, as well as the friendships that sustained this work of nearly half a century, as the vital context that allowed for the major novels and essays of Virginia Woolf.