ENGL 540 -- Spring Quarter 2006

Late Modernism Kaplan TTh 1:30-3:20

This seminar will investigate what happened to British Literature after "High Modernism" had reached its zenith. Instead of focusing on the well-known "masterpieces" of the 1920s (such as The Waste Land, Ulysses, and To the Lighthouse), we will consider texts which reflect the profound social changes brought about by the Depression, World War II, and the breaking-down of the power of the British Empire. We will look at some later works by Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot to see how they responded to these dramatic changes and then consider the younger generation of writers who wrote in their wake, such as W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, and George Orwell. We'll also read a good portion of Jed Esty's recent study: A Shrinking Island, Modernism and National Culture in England, and consider his views on how "English intellectuals translated the end of empire into a resurgent concept of national culture".
Although this course has no prerequisites, students should have some background in modernist literature. (If you haven't read any Eliot or Woolf, I hope that you will at least read The Waste Land and either Mrs. Dalloway or To the Lighthouse during Spring break. Also, if you've never read Orwell's 1984, this is a good time to do so).

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