Civilization and Its Discontents: Modernism and Cultural Crisis
Freud remarks at the end of Civilization and Its Discontents that the “fateful question for the human species seems to me to be whether and to what extent their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance in their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self-destruction.” Using this theme as the framework for our discussion, the seminar will consider how British modernist writers responded to the prevalent sense of cultural crisis during and following the Great War. The growth of psychoanalysis during this period --as an explanatory tool for both individual and social malaise-- will be one focus of our attention. Others might be contemporary politics, anthropology, science, and popular culture, depending on interests of members of the seminar.
Texts: Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents; T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems, D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love, Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, and Between the Acts, and selected poems by Yeats, Auden, Owen, Rosenberg and other World War One poets.