English 365/001: Modernist Literature (September 2021)

ENGL 365/001: Modernist Literature: Haunted Landscapes of Gothic Modernism

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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NOTE: This course will be web-based: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of courses developed by CTLT and offered through Distance Learning. It also retains a registration cap.

Term 1 | MWF 2:00-3:00p

“in the middle of my party, here’s death, she thought” – Mrs. Dalloway

Modernism was born out of seismic, revolutionary shifts in society and culture. World wars, political revolutions in Europe and beyond, murderous civil and colonial/imperial wars, economic depression, and successive waves of technological modernization offering mixed psychological and social benefits and injuries laid siege to assumptions that the world was in any way well-ordered or reliably understood. Its literature both reflects conscious innovation and experiment and sometimes opposes these passions for change. Its obsessions respond in complex ways to those seismic shifts in its representations of gender and sexuality, social structures, race and culture, in all cases often in terms of transgression.

And yet, in its drive to make things new, Modernist literature is often a haunted place: spectres of ancestry, of war, of places escaped from collide with the present moment, creating a dark, Gothic modernity. This troubled place will be our focus in the darkening days of autumn.

Core texts include Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison; D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway;  short fiction by James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield.

NOTE UPDATE: The course will be fully online and will combine synchronous (live video lectures with discussion) and asynchronous (Canvas-based discussion, notes, online resources) material.

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Editions of the texts and digital options will be identified later this summer.

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

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