Georgia Southern University

ENGL 7630-A (CRN 15611 -- Graduate Seminar in World and Comparative Literature) - Spring 2004

"Il faut être absolument moderne." --Arthur Rimbaud


Monday 6:30 pm - 9:15 pm, Newton 1110

The 20th Century Avant-Garde in Literature and Everywhere Else

-----------Dr. David W. Robinson-----------

What Does "Modern" Mean a Century Later?

This is the general question that will guide our journey through the many early twentieth century artistic movements that touted themselves as modern. The desire to embrace the new, and to detach oneself from the past - together with the impossibility of doing so - will be one theme. Another will be the multilayered tangle of art and politics that is so characteristic of the period.

"Comparative Literature"? What's That?

Comparative Literature examines literature with an international, interdisciplinary approach. No other orientation serves as well for studying a transnational movement such as Modernism. We will dip into the national literatures of the United Kingdom, Ireland, America, Soviet Russia, France, Italy, Bohemia, and several different manifestations of Germany. For the foreign language works we will employ English translations as necessary.

Who Are Some of the Authors We Will Read?

Guillaume Apollinaire Hugo Ball Bertolt Brecht André Breton Mikhail Bulgakov Hart Crane e.e. cummings T.S. Eliot James Joyce Franz Kafka Wyndham Lewis Stephan Mallarmé F.T. Marinetti Vladimir Mayakovsky Marcel Proust Gertrude Stein Tristan Tzara Virginia Woolf W.B. Yeats and more.

What are the Nuts and Bolts?

We will read poetry, fiction, drama, theory, and much stranger things. We will watch movies, look at art, and listen to music. The grading will be based on a short paper, a long paper, an oral presentation, a final exam, and participation in an on-line discussion forum. As much of the reading (and other stuff) as possible will be distributed on CD-ROMs for convenience and economy.

Required Books

James Joyce, Ulysses
Harry Blamires, The Bloomsday Book

Apollonio, Umbro (ed.), Futurist Manifestos
Bertolt Brecht, The Measures Taken and Other Lehrstücke
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Franz Kafka, "The Metamorphosis," "The Penal Colony," and Other Stories
Vladimir Mayakovsky, The Bedbug and Selected Poetry
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Other readings will be provided on-line.


You will be writing a short (maximum 5-page) paper examining the work of an author you find on the Ubuweb site or CD-ROMs. A research project (12-20 pages) will be required at the end of the term; the topic will be announced. Part of this assignment is to submit a written prospectus once you have arrived at your topic. The balance of the grade will derive from Participation (specifically, the quality of your contributions to the on-line forum plus your class participation) and the Final Examination. I guarantee there will be a question about Ulysses on there!

Short Paper 15%
Participation 10%
Research Paper 45%
Final Examination 30%

Schedule of Classes

Classes meet from 6:30 - 9:15 pm in Newton 1110. This schedule is subject to change.

Week 1
Monday Jan. 5 Introductory remarks. Survey of the field.

Week 2
Monday Jan. 12 Begin Joyce's Ulysses, Chaps. 1-3 (Telemachus, Nestor, Proteus). French Symbolist Poetry and manifestos (available on-line).

Week MLK
Monday Jan. 19 MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY. Class does not meet. However, we will use this week to get a jump on the Ulysses reading, and we will discuss the assigned chapters on-line. Ulysses, Chaps. 4-5 (Calypso, Lotus Eaters).

Week 3
Monday Jan. 26 Ulysses, Chaps. 6-7 (Hades, Aeolus). Discussion of T.S. Eliot poems (available on-line).

Week 4
Monday Feb. 2 Ulysses, Chap. 8 (Lestrygonians). Italian Futurism (readings from the Apollonio book, plus goodies from Ubuweb).

Week 5
Monday Feb. 9 Ulysses, Chap. 9 (Scylla & Charybdis). Dada, Surrealism, Sound Poetry (Ubuweb and other on-line material).

Week 6
Monday Feb. 16 Ulysses, Chap. 10 (Wandering Rocks). Russian Futurism: Mayakovsky.

Week 7
Monday Feb. 23 Ulysses, Chap. 11 (Sirens). SHORT PAPER DUE, ALONG WITH BRIEF PRESENTATIONS.

Week 8
Monday March 1 Ulysses, Chap. 12 (Cyclops). Bulgakov,The Master and Margarita.

Week 9
Monday March 8 Ulysses, Chap. 13 (Nausicaa).  Gertrude Stein (available on-line).

Spring Break 3-15 to 3-19

Week 10
Monday March 22 Ulysses, Chap. 14 (Oxen of the Sun). Time: Proust, Bergson (available on-line). FINAL PAPER PROSPECTUS DUE.

Week 11
Monday March 29 Ulysses, Chap. 15 (Circe).  Kafka, stories. FINAL PAPER WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE.

Week 12
Monday April 5 Ulysses, Chap. 16 (Eumaeus). Brecht, The Measures Taken.

Week 13
Monday April 12 Ulysses, Chap. 17 (Ithaca).  Additional Joyce:  Finnegans Wake excerpts (available on-line).
Week 14
Monday April 19 Ulysses, Chap. 18 (Penelope). FINAL PAPERS DUE (ALONG WITH BRIEF PRESENTATIONS).

Week 15
Monday April 26 Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Movie: The Hours.

Final Examination: Adminstered on-line; time TBA.