Graduate Readings: Modernism in Poetry
T.J. Clark: Farewell to an Idea ; Tim Armstrong: Modernism ; Charles Altieri: The Art of Modernist American Poetry; John Ashbery: Selected Poems ; Wallace Stevens: Collected Poems and Prose ; W.C. Williams: Spring and All ; also a course reader
"I am concerned with what the new historical work in modernism puts at risk�the possibility that it has continuing vitality for engaged imaginations because it still does significant affective and intellectual work. I think much of this work derives not so much from what writers ""say"" as the arenas they construct for making visible complex systems of mutual interrelations that can only be shown and not ""said."" What can be the power of such showings? To begin answering these questions this course will begin with brief readings on relationality (Nietzsche and baby Hegel), then two weeks on Cezanne, Picasso, and non-iconic abstraction, then mostly prose and highly selected poems from Pound and Eliot as well as short stories by Wyndham Lewis. The extended case study will be Wallace Stevens for four weeks as we think about what he can use in modernism and how he feels he must modify his heritage. Finally we will spend one week on Pollock and Johns for figures of how relationality gets literalized separates visuality from various contextual backgrounds. We will close with how Ashbery at once culminates the sense of relationality and proves so amazingly fertile for younger writers."
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