English 203

Graduate Readings: Modernist Fiction and Affect

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2020 Zhang, Dora
TTh 11-12:30 180 Barrows


This course is designed to function as an introduction to two fields, one literary-historical, and one critical: Anglo-American modernist fiction, and affect theory. We’ll read a selection of both “high modernist” and lesser-known novels of the early twentieth century (possible authors include James, Joyce, Woolf, Hurston, Larsen, Barnes, Sylvia Townsend Warner) alongside a selection of recent affect theory (possible authors include Sedgwick, Tomkins, Berlant, Ahmed, Ngai, Cvetokovich, Muñoz, Cheng). Questions we’ll consider include: what does it mean to read for affect and how do we do it? Are there affects that are particular to modernism? What is the relationship between affect and aesthetic form? Can we historicize particular affects, and if so, how? What is the relationship between affect and race, gender, sexuality, and class? What sorts of attachments (e.g. to individuals, fantasies, nations, empires) can we discern in modernist novels, and what are their effects?

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