English 190

Research Seminar: Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Body


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2010 Edwards, Erin E
Edwards, Erin
TTh 11-12:30 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Barnes, D.: Nightwood; Carter, A.: The Passion of New Eve; DeLillo, D.: The Body Artist; Faulkner, W.: As I Lay Dying; Fitzgerald, F.S.: Tender is the Night; Gibson, W.: Neuromancer; Hemingway, E.: The Sun Also Rises; Toomer, J.: Cane

Films: Modern Times (1936); Blade Runner (1982)

Description

Harold Segel characterizes modernism as “the transition from an intellectual and verbal culture to one distinguished by antirationalism, anti-intellectualism, the primacy of spontaneity and intuition, the repudiation of the epistemological value of language, and the celebration of the physical, which was perceived as direct experience of the phenomenal world” Taking Segel’s claims as a point of departure, this course will ask how changing conceptions of the body in twentieth-century literature and film are implicated in new definitions of knowledge, culture, representation, and the category of the “human.” We will start with Hemingway and Fitzgerald, questioning how their valorization of physicality, athleticism, and beauty informs the language and narrative structure of these novels. We will also consider novels from the same period, however, whose linguistic excess and experimentation raise questions about the status of the body and problematize the notion of direct experience of the world. The course will then turn toward the second half of the century, asking how postmodern, posthuman, or cyborg bodies offer new definitions of bodily form. Throughout the course, we will also read different theories of the body, considering both what theory illuminates about fictional representations of the body and what fiction contributes to theories of the body. In considering different theoretical models and the different bodily forms to which modernism and postmodernism give rise, the course foregrounds the notion that the body’s ontology is not necessarily accomplished, but continually reconceived, or even recreated.

English 190 replaced 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 English 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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