ENGL 3P38
Modernism

Instructor: Professor Tim Conley
Class times: Fri 11:00-13:00
Office: GLN 125
Office hours: Mon 14:00-16:00
Email: tconley@brocku.ca
Office phone: (905) 688-5550 ext. 5196

Course overview: The definition of “Modernism” is still, a century later, a matter of debate. In this course, we will examine a series of possible approaches to defining this term as we read an international range of authors (from such canonical figures as T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf to names hitherto less familiar, including Yvan Goll, Humberto Rivas, and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven) and explore some of the avant-garde movements of the era (including Futurism, Imagism, and Surrealism) and their historical and social contexts. We will do this by focussing on the urban experience, on how the transforming and transformative environment of the city (Paris, New York, Moscow, and so on) became the crèche of modernist experimentation. Students will be encouraged to explore the avenues and works which most interest them. We may have an evening or two of films if there is sufficient interest.

Marking scheme: Evaluation will be based upon performance on one short essay (worth 25%), one long essay (35%), one seminar presentation (20%), and class
participation (20%). This last refers to participation in both lectures and (focally) seminars. Students absent from more than three seminars (certified emergencies excepted) forfeit the full participation mark. Students will receive at least 15% of the grade by November 2, and should note that the last day to drop a D2 course without penalty is November 6. Please note that completion of all assignments is required to pass the course.

Required Texts:
T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems
Rasula and Conley, eds., Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity
Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway

Late Policy: A penalty of three percent (3%) for each day late, including weekends, will be incurred in all cases except certified emergencies. Papers more than ten days late will not be accepted, and a mark of zero will be given for the assignment. Requests for extensions sent by email will not be entertained. All assigned work must be submitted in hard copy: emailed assignments will not be accepted.

Plagiarism: Simply: don’t even think about it. Students are referred to Brock University’s official policy on plagiarism (see Undergraduate Calendar, Academic
Regulations and University Policies, VII. Academic Misconduct), and they are further advised that the instructor has an especially low view of such behaviour. Decisions for penalties in such cases are made by the Associate Dean, but the instructor will recommend a minimum penalty of a grade of zero for the assignment.

Medical Emergencies:
All students should familiarize themselves with Brock’s Medical Exemption policy and follow its procedures if necessary (see http://www.brocku.ca/healthservices/exemption.php).

Schedule:
September 7Course Introduction

September 14: Overtures (BC 1-24)

seminar (week of September 10-14): Multiple City (BC 124-82)

September 21: Poetic Circulation (BC 25-44), Postcards (BC 77-78)

seminar (week of September 17-21): Multiple City (BC 124-82)

September 28: Futurist Hope (BC 45-54)

seminar (week of September 24-28): Aviograms (BC 55-66)

October 5: Eliot, The Waste Land

seminar (week of October 1-5): Soupault, “Westwego” (BC 117-23), Van Ostaijen, “Music Hall” (BC 250-76)

October 8-12: Fall break (no classes)

October 19 Eliot, The Waste Land

seminar (week of October 15-19): Parade of the Eccentric (BC 277-300)

October 26 Mrs Dalloway

seminar (week of October 22-26): Mrs Dalloway

November 2: Mrs Dalloway

seminar (week of October 29-November 2): Whipcracks and Megaphone Chants (BC 222-49)

November 9: Electric Man (BC 322-62)

seminar (week of November 5-9): Cineland: Evening Show (BC 303-21)

November 16: Paris (BC 79-116)

seminar (week of November 12-16): New York (BC 400-31)

November 23: A New Mythology (BC 448-85)

seminar (week of November 19-23): Lunar Baedeker (BC 487-514)

November 30: Twentieth Century Blues (BC 527-38), course review

Due dates:
October 19: Short essay due (4-6 pages)
December 11: Long essay due (10-12 pages)

Seminars:
Seminar 1: Mon 16:00-17:00 GLB112
Seminar 2: [cancelled]
Seminar 3: Wed 16:00-17:00 GLB112

Seminars are designed for group discussion, offering students greater opportunity to express and exchange their own ideas than lectures allow. Students should arrive at seminars having read the work assigned and prepared to talk about it: mere attendance is not synonymous with participation.

Seminar Presentations:
Students in each seminar will sign up for one of the provided seminar topics by no later than September 21 (students who do not sign up by this deadline will not be permitted to give a presentation, and forfeit the mark). Students are expected to lead seminar discussion on a selected text on the day for which they have signed up. This means: (1) selecting a poem or excerpt (or two poems) from the given section of Burning City or a passage from the given novel; (2) presenting a combination of instructive information and thoughtful questions; and (3) making sure the seminar conversation moves forward in a constructive way. Note that it is the responsibility of students presenting on any given day to ensure that they are not presenting on the same poem: where this does happen, both students will have their marks halved. Seminar presentations should run approximately 18-20 minutes, and will be marked by both the seminar leader and the students in the seminar (the average grade from the students equals half the grade for this assignment).

Laptops and Other Devices:
Students may use laptop computers in lecture but are asked not to distract other students with these devices. In seminars, on the other hand, the use of laptops is
strongly discouraged. (Note that students whose disabilities require the use of a laptop should inform the instructor and seminar leader of this at the soonest opportunity.) Cell phones, blackberries, and other social media should be shut off during both lecture and seminar: use of such media in these settings is both disrespectful and demonstrative of poor attention to the course, and may be penalized in participation grades.

Supplementary Reading:
Daniel Albright, Putting Modernism Together: Literature, Music, and Painting, 1872-1927 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2015)
Ann L. Ardis, Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880-1922 (Cambridge UP, 2002)
Peter Brooker et al., eds., The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms (Oxford UP, 2010)
Matei Calinescu, Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism (Duke UP, 1987)
William R. Everdell, The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century Thought (U of Chicago P, 1998)
Astradur Eysteinsson, The Concept of Modernism (Cornell UP, 1992)
Peter Gay, Modernism: The Lure of Heresy (Norton, 2007)
Fredric Jameson, The Modernist Papers (Verso, 2007)
Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era (U of California P, 1971)
Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918, 2 ed. (Harvard UP, 2003) nd
Marina MacKay, Modernism and World War II (Cambridge UP, 2010)
Vicki Mahaffey, Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007)
Celia Marshik, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Culture (Cambridge UP, 2014)
Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: A Literary Guide (U of California P, 1995)
Marjorie Perloff, The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (U of Chicago P, 2003)
Jean-Michel Rabaté, ed., A Handbook of Modernism Studies (Wiley and Sons, 2013)
Lawrence Rainey, Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Cultures (Yale UP, 1998)
Shawna Ross and James O’Sullivan, eds., Reading Modernism with Machines: Digital Humanities and Modernist Literature (Palgrave, 2016)
Louis A. Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought (Harvard UP, 1998)
Daniel R. Schwarz, Reconfiguring Modernism: Explorations in the Relationship Between Modern Art and Modern Literature (Palgrave, 1997)
Bonnie Kime Scott, ed., The Gender of Modernism (Indiana UP, 1990)
Roger Shattuck, The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France, 1885 to World War I (Vintage, 1968)
Vincent Sherry, The Great War and the Language of Modernism (Oxford UP, 2003)