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 Graduate Courses

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

Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/2 Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction Sorensen, Janet
250/3 Research Seminar: Milton and the English Civil War Kahn, Victoria
250/4 Research Seminar: The Rhetoric of Technique Lavery, Jos
250/5 Research Seminar: Black Abstraction Best, Stephen M.
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Victorian Cultural Studies Puckett, Kent
250/2 Research Seminar: How to Write a Book Kahn, Victoria
250/3 Research Seminar: Paranoid States: Empire and the Rise of the Surveillance State Saha, Poulomi
250/4 Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism Abel, Elizabeth
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Collaboration Goodman, Kevis
250/3 Research Seminar: Idols and Ideology—Readings in Augustine, Milton, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Kant, Marx, Freud, Althusser Kahn, Victoria
Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Representing Non-Human Life in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Britain Picciotto, Joanna M
250/2 Research Seminar: Ethnic Modernisms Lee, Steven S.
250/3 Research Seminar: Literature and the Brain Gang, Joshua
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Capitalist Crisis and Literature Gonzalez, Marcial
250/2 Research Seminar: The Limits of Historicism Best, Stephen M.
250/3 Research Seminar: How It Strikes a Contemporary: Reading the Novel in the 21st Century Snyder, Katherine
Snyder, Katie
250/4 Research Seminar: Modernism's Metaphysics Blanton, C. D.
Fall, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Literature of the English Revolution Picciotto, Joanna M
250/2 Research Seminar: Medieval Literary Thought Justice, Steven
250/3 Research Seminar: Black + Queer Ellis, Nadia
250/4 Research Seminar: John Donne and T.S. Eliot: Lyric Poetry and Society Marno, David
Spring, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar Best, Stephen M.
250/2 Research Seminar: The Grammar of Poetry, the Poetry of Grammar Altieri, Charles F.
250/3 Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, and Modernism Abel, Elizabeth
250/4 Research Seminar Falci, Eric

Back to Semester List