"Every time she gave a party she had this feeling of being something not herself, and that every one was unreal in one way; much more real in another." ~ Mrs. Dalloway
Trivial Matters: Parties, the Home, and British Modernism
This course will examine British novels written during and after the Great War that prominently feature the social and/or domestic spheres. We will discuss the ways in which the seemingly trivial activities that take place within these spaces—such as parties, village contretemps, gossip, domestic disasters, and daily routines—matter within modernism, both as a historical period and a philosophical commitment. We will engage issues such as gender, the everyday, class, familial relationships, manners, and the “middlebrow.” Course readings will include Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier (1918), as well as several popular domestic novels such as E.M. Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930) and E. F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia (1931). This course satisfies the “W” requirement.