American Modern (EAS3235)
Through seminar discussion of literary texts, critical and theoretical analyses and historical contexts, this module seeks to identify a distinctly American modernist idiom. We will examine how literary texts reacted to and sometimes attempted to intervene into such social trends and debates as urbanization, migration and emigration, changing racial and gender dynamics, emerging mass and consumer cultures and such specific historical phenomena as Prohibition, the Plessy v. Fergusson decision, the Great Migration, the Depression. We will compare modernist internationalism and various strands of “native” U.S. modernism--e.g. romantic nationalism, the Harlem Renaissance, cultural pluralism. We will work across several literary genres to examine the importance of coteries and creative communities orbiting "little magazines” and will analyse the aesthetic influences of visual arts, jazz and blues, and film on literary texts.