English 100

Junior Seminar: Modernism and the City

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Spring 2005 Snyder, Katherine
Snyder, Katherine
TTh 12:30-2 106 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

A photocopied course reader including poetry and essays, plus some of the following books (consult the course syllabus, available at the first class, before buying your books!): Dos Passos, J.: The Big Money; Fitzgerald, F.S.: The Great Gatsby; Eliot, T.S.: The Waste Land; Hughes, L.: Selected Poems; Joyce, J.: Dubliners Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Larsen, N.: Passing; Stein, G.: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; Toomer, J.: Cane; Woolf, V.: Mrs. Dalloway. If time permits, we will also view and discuss Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times.


Skyscrapers and subways, crowds and solitary strollers, cacophony and kaleidoscope -- the modern city provoked, both urged onward and challenged, the makers of literary modernism. We will investigate how a handful of modernist writers of the 1920s and 30s responded to the urbanism associated with twentieth-century life. What plots and themes, what narrative forms and rhetorical devices, what stylistic experiments and formal innovations were employed to 'make it new' in the modern city? We will consider representations of a number of key modern cities including London, Paris, Dublin, and New York, especially the Bohemian enclaves within these cities--Bloomsbury, the Left Bank, Greenwich Village, and Harlem--that were so crucial to the making of modernism. We will also read theoretical and literary critical essays to buttress our understanding of urbanism, the figure of the flaneur, modernity and modernism, private and public spaces, coteries and salons, cosmopolitanism and nationalism, immigration and migration, and the role of gender and race in the production of modernist literature and culture. Requirements: several ungraded writing exercises; three short essays with required revision(s); regular attendance and active participation in all class meetings.

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