English R1A

Reading & Composition: Music and Modernism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2012 Le, Serena
MWF 11-12 222 Wheeler

Book List

Eliot, T.: Collected Poems: 1909-1962; Forster, H.: Howards End; Hopkins, G.: The Major Works; Joyce, J.: Poems and Shorter Writings; Pound, E.: The Pisan Cantos; Stein, G.: Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein; Stevens, W.: The Collected Poems; Yeats, W.: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats;

Recommended: Pound, E.: ABC of Reading

Other Readings and Media

A course reader containing stories by Woolf and Joyce, poems by Thomas Hardy and Ezra Pound, essays by Pound, Eliot, Stevens, and other modernist thinkers, and excerpts from Joyce’s Ulysses.

Listenings (including works of Schoenberg, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and above-mentioned operas) available through library databases and other online resources.


“Poets who will not study music are defective.” So wrote Ezra Pound in 1917, as World War I raged in Europe and literary modernism gained momentum both alongside, and in response. Pound may have been among the bluntest of his contemporaries, but he was far from alone in his belief. As this course will show, deep convictions about the vitality of music to the craft of the written word are as prevalent in modernist literature as considerations of the word itself. Over the course of the semester, we will discuss music and modernism in tandem, seeking both to identify the nature of convictions held, and to begin the work of determining how they are challenged or carried out. A background in music theory, history, or performance is by no means necessary, though students should be prepared to listen with interest and attention to some of the period’s most distinctive musical works.

Written assignments for this course will consist of a series of short essays, with considerable room for, and emphasis on, revision. Students should expect to develop practical fluency in critical writing, and to hone skills in exposition and argumentation.

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