English 203

Graduate Readings: Philosophical Contexts for Modernist Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2021 Altieri, Charles F.
TTh 2-3:30

Book List

Clark, Andy: Supersizing the Mind; Heidegger, Martin: Introduction to Metaphysics; Heidegger, Martin: Poetry Language Thought; James, William: Radical Empiricism; Noe, Alva: Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature; Wittgenstein, Ludwig: Philosophical Investigations;

Recommended: Barthes, Roland: Critical Essays; Elliot, T.S: Knowledge and Experience in the Thought of F.H. Bradlley

Other Readings and Media

There will be elaborate readings in bcourses at least for Hegel, Bradley, various theorists, the poets and painters, and one book not yet chosen on how most philosophers now think about consciousness (which I think art and poetry allow us to contest, or demand us to contest).


This course will concentrate on supplementary readings that help give context and significance to Modernist writing.  It will begin with William James and F.H. Bradley on the concept of experience as an alternative to Romantic ideals of subjective expression.  There will be an interlude where we discuss Picasso's recastings of Cezanne in terms foregrounding tensions between construction and fidelity to nature or "realization."  Then we will spend some time with Hegel's Lectures in Aesthetics in order to get clear on his ideal of inner sensuousness and the appeal of abstraction as exploring new kinds of concreteness in the arts.  Then Heidegger and Wittgenstein will provide exciting frameworks for talking about the kinds of languages that can be foregrounded in imaginative work.  We may have a class devoted to Roland Barthes in order to dramatize how fascination can be a plausible ideal for art that avoids moralism.  And I want to study Alva Noe, Andy Clark, and David Chalmers in order to develop an ability to elaborate the consequences of contemporary anti-Cartesian approaches to the study of consciousness.  And there will be at least one section reading Lyn Hejinian as theorist along with essays on Karen Barard.  There will be some classes on Marianne Moore, Myna Loy, and Wallace Stevens highlighting specific works.  And we may have each student report on what the student thinks is an important context for the study of this material.  I realize now all teaching seems to me involved in making clear the stakes involved in human actions or powers of observation and analysis.  This course addresses the stakes in reading Modernism now.

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