English 166

Special Topics: The Literature of the Fin de Siècle


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2021 Viragh, Atti
TuTh 2-3:30 56 Social Sciences

Other Readings and Media

 

 

 

Description

The cultural uniqueness of the fin de siècle throws into disarray our usual way of organizing knowledge about the “Victorians” and the “moderns.” Far from a minor transitional stage between epochs, this is a period whose art and thought are so distinctive that it must be understood on its own terms. The storm clouds of mass warfare, socialist revolution, anti-colonial uprisings and the breakup of empires were all in the air, but had not yet erupted on the world stage. Most countries had seen decades of peace, increasing rights for women and minorities, and, alongside severe poverty in industrialized cities and swelling organized labor movements, a new business class taking power over the public sphere from a declining aristocracy. In cosmopolitan centers like St. Petersburg, Vienna, Paris and London (and moving between them), a polyglot generation debated new theories about art, philosophy, psychology, sexuality and political economy. Recent scientific discoveries such as cell theory, the germ theory of disease, evolution, and the neurological theory of mind were now widely accepted. In this atmosphere, experimental movements in the arts—impressionism, symbolism, secessionism, art nouveau, decadence, the arts and crafts movement—were flourishing. If fin-de-siècle literature cannot be reduced to that of any other period but demands its own category, this class is designed as an introduction to some of the major writers in that category. We will read and situate their work alongside developments in the social and natural sciences that they were thinking about, and we will seek to develop, along the way, our own theory of fin-de-siècle literature.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2022

166/1

Special Topics: Beckett

166/2

Special Topics

Naiman, Eric
fall, 2021

166/1

Special Topics: Writing Race: Faulkner and his Progeny

166/2

Special Topics: Burn it Down/Build it Up: Protest, Dissent, and the Politics of Resistance

166/3

Special Topics: "Race, Social Class, Creative Writing, and Difference"

spring, 2021

166/1

Special Topics: The Graphic Memoir

166/3

Special Topics: Hemingway and Masculinity

166/4

Special Topics: The Social Media of Literature

166/5

Special Topics: Anton Chekhov

Muza, Anna
summer, 2021

166/1

Special Topics: Broadway Musicals

166/2

Special Topics: Law and Literature in the United States

166/3

Special Topics: Queer Tourism

166/4

Special Topics: Four Nobelists: Czeslaw Milosz, Derek Walcott, Toni Morrison, and Seamus Heaney

fall, 2020

166/1

Special Topics: Writing as Social Practice

166/3

Special Topics: The Age of Crisis

spring, 2020

166/2

Special Topics: The Literature & Art of Incarceration

166/3

Special Topics: Moby-Dick

166/4

Special Topics: Pomo: Exploring the Landscape of Postmodernism

166/5

Special Topics: American Humor: Books & Movies

166/6

Special Topics: Art of Writing: Grant Writing, Food Writing, Food Justice

166/7

Special Topics: Arthurian Romance

summer, 2020

166/1

Special Topics: Medieval Fantasy from Tolkien to Game of Thrones

166/2

Special Topics: Global Catastrophe and Modern Literature

166/3

Special Topics: The Broadway Musical

fall, 2019

166/1

Special Topics: Getting Global: Literature & Film of an Expanding & Unequal World

166/2

Special Topics: Literature in the Century of Film

166/3

Special Topics: Writing as Social Practice

166/4

Special Topics: Literatures of the Asian Diaspora in America

166/7

Special Topics: Charles Dickens

166/8

Special Topics: Green Thought in a Green Shade

166/9

Special Topics: New Orleans

166/11

Special Topics: The Works of Vladimir Nabokov

Naiman, Eric
spring, 2019

166/1

Special Topics: Gothic

166/2

Special Topics: Marxism and Literature

166/4

Special Topics: Poetry and Prose of Race and Social Class

166/5

Special Topics: Asian American Literature - World, Nation, Locality

166/6

Special Topics: Realism, Then and Now

166/7

Special Topics: Anton Chekhov

Muza, Anna

Back to Semester List