An introduction to the period of American modernism (1900 to WW II), with a focus on fiction. The course places representative works in relation to literary culture and social and historical context. Topics covered include nationalism, migration, race, gender, and the impact of the visual arts on literary modernism, as well as the relation between modernity/ modernization (social, economic, and technological transformation) and modernism (revolution in literary style): to what extent is modernism the emblematic modern style? If this is the case, what motivates the persistence of “obsolete” styles (such as realism) during the so-called modernist period? Guiding concepts will be the idea of alternative modernities, and the significance of location/space as well as history.
Assignments: two short papers, one mid-term.
Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (New Directions)
Américo Paredes, George Washington Gómez (Arte Publico Press)
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives (Bedford edition)
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Simon & Schuster)
Jean Toomer, Cane (Perennial)
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (Norton Edition)