English 190

Research Seminar: Avant-Gardes


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2009 Blanton, C. D.
Blanton, C.D.
TTh 9:30-11 203 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

The book list for this course has not been finalized, but the books will be at the bookstore by the time classes start.

Description

In the early years of the twentieth century, a generation of young artists began organizing itself under the metaphorically (or perhaps not merely metaphorically) militant sign of an avant-garde: an advance guard or vanguard, dedicated variously to refining, redefining, perhaps even destroying, the notion of art as such. By the time of the first world war, the term had come to embrace a wide range of often contradictory movements, in most of the major European languages and in almost every art. This seminar will not make sense of the avant-garde, but it will explore some of its major incarnations: Futurism, Vorticism, Dada, and Surrealism, among others. We will puzzle over manifestoes and some of the works to which they gave rise, tracing the concept’s nineteenth-century bohemian roots and its place within the larger constellation of aesthetic modernism. We will also weigh some of the most important critical attempts to gauge the aesthetic and historical significance of such avant-garde movements, before turning to the occasionally vexed question of their persistence in more recent decades. Can one conceive of a continuing avant-garde tradition? Or is the mere suggestion simply oxymoronic?

English 190 replaces English 100 and 150 as of Fall ’09. English majors may fulfill the seminar requirement for the major by taking one section of English 190 (or by having taken either English 100 or 150 before Fall ’09). Please read the paragraph on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course!

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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