Section 1: Tuesdays 6:30-9:10 PM
Professor: Pat Collier
The years 1910-1940 saw some of the most dramatic and disruptive social, political, and economic changes and crises in the history of Britain and its global empire. In addition to two catastrophic world wars, a global economic depression, and the continuing technological transformations of modernity, these changes entailed profound and unnerving re-orientations of the relations between writers and audiences. Literacy and reading soared in late nineteenth century, and again after World War I; simultaneously, some of the most ambitious writers rejected the developing mass print market, or participated in it ambivalently. The global depression and the rise of fascism and state communism in the 1930s gave an urgent, new edge to questions about literature’s relationship to the public.
This course will begin by looking at writers in the 1930s who were grappling with the early history (literary history and history per se) of the twentieth century, before moving back to the beginnings of British modernism, with its concurrent utopian visions and dystopian critiques of modernity. In collaboration with Dr. Mix’s English 644, we will explore these questions as they involve transatlantic and insurgent modernisms, with special attention to the shifting parameters of modernism and its canons. This collaboration will include some joint work and programming, perhaps including on-line writing, a mini-conference, and/or film screenings.
Primary texts will include some of the following: poetry by W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden and his circle, and others; fiction and non-fiction by Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, J. B. Priestly, Rebecca West, Jean Rhys, E. M. Forster, and James Joyce.