English 250

Research Seminar: Modernism in Poetry and in Art

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2017 Altieri, Charles F.
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 115 Barrows

Book List

Ashbery, John: Collected Poems, Vol. 1; Eliot, T.S.: Collected Poems, Vol. 1; Harrison and Wood, Charles and Paul: Art in Theory: 1900-2000; Moore, , Marianne: Collected Poems; Pound , Ezra: Personae; Stevens, Wallace: Collected Poetry and Prose


This course is still a work in progress.  The basic idea is to develop the possibility that new developments in materialism offer tremendous possiblities for appreciating Impressionist art and Imagist writing.  But they also make it imperative to appreciate why the Modernist painters totally rejected Impressionism and why the Modernist poets soon utterly rejected Imagism.  I want to explore why these rejections also involved judgments on materialism and how those rejections might influence our own thinking--both about specific works of art and about how Modernist art might be even more important for our cultural situation than it was for the culture in which it was developed.  We will beginn with some readings in vitalist materialisms as we work for at least two weeks on Impressionist art and Cezanne [this format will not allow me to accent the e], as well as Merleau-Ponty on Cezanne.  Then we will spend three weeks on Modernist reactions, along with some readings in Hegel's aesthetics and much reading in Art in Theory 1900-2000.  Participants will be asked to make fairly short presentations on single paintings from the epoch 1863-1930.  Then we will study how Modernist writing stages the dynamics of self-consciousness as a counter vitality to vitalist materialism.  We will begin with how Pound and Moore reject Imagism, how Eliot's theological poems reject what he thought to be the limitations of Modernism, and how Stevens kept reframing what self-consciousness might involve, and how Ashbery reframes Stevens, in accord with how Jackson Pollock reinterprets surrealism.  We will read widely in these poets writings on poetics but try to focus our conversation in extended discussion of particular poems presented by the participants. If we have time we will also look at why some younger contemporaries utterly reject the role of image and epiphanic narrative in their work.

There should be elaborate readings on bpace and exemplary paintings.  Papers can pursue any materials discussed in the course.

This course satisfies the Group 5 (Twentieth Century) requirement.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List