English 166

Special Topics: In Flanders Field--The Great War in European Literature


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Buelens, Geert
TTh 3:30-5 102 Wurster

Other Readings and Media

"Barbusse, H.: Under Fire; Bridgwater, P.: The German Poets of the First World War; Cross, T., ed.: The Lost Voices of World War I: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets, and Playwrights; Junger, E.: Storm of Steel; Roberts, D., ed.: Minds at War; Silkin, J., ed.: The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry; van Ostaijen, P.: Feasts of Fear and Agony, Patriotism, Inc. and Other Tales, Verzamelde Gedichten



Recommended Texts: Calhoun, C.: Nationalism; Fussell, P.: The Great War and Modern Memory; Marsland, E. A.: The Nation's Cause: French, English, and German Poetry of the First World War; Winter, J.: Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History "

Description

This course is first of all devoted to the very different ways in which the First World War is represented in European literature. British poets like Owen, Sassoon, Rosenberg, Brooke, and Graves are internationally known for their work--they are The War Poets. But in other languages as well, the Great War has produced important work--novels like Le Feu (Under Fire), by Henri Barbusse, or memoirs like Storm of Steel (In Stahlgewittern), by Ernst Junger. Or poetry (by Mayakovsky, Ungaretti, Apollinaire, Cendrars, Stramm, Trakl) that is not only remarkably modernist on a formal level--influenced as it was by the avant-garde movements that boomed in this very period--but also far less elegiac and nostalgic than their English counterparts. This course tries to account for these differences, focussing on the different political and cultural contexts in which these works were written. Special attention will be devoted to the WWI poetry and grotesque stories of the Flemish (Belgian) poet Paul van Ostaijen. His Occupied City (1921) is not only a unique dada-influenced collage-type account of the German occupation of his native Antwerp, but it also reflects on the intricate relationship of the Flemish nationalists whose main enemy turned out to be the Belgian State (and not the German occupier).

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