Module Identifier EN32320  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Timothy S Woods  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will be able to:
- Describe and appraise the main theories of and debates within modernism
- Relate theories and practices of modernism to set texts
- Describe the broad effects of modernist devices on literary and cultural forms
- Apply examples from the arguments of principal exponents of modernist theory
- Comment critically on the material chosen for study
- Engage in coherent oral discussion of the texts and background material
- Write about the subject in a well-structured and argued manner

Brief description

The principal aim of this module will be to familiarise students with the variety of debates centring upon the problematic of modernism, but in particular, to consider whether one can perceive and describe the political ideologies underpinning the various aesthetics of modernism. By focusing on a selection of texts from the "high" modernist canon, the following issues might be explored: what were the relations between the aesthetic ideologies of modernism and its emergence within a specific historical and social formation? whether modernist aesthetics were a radical break with conventional forms of knowledge, or whether they were merely a search for a new realism? why the issue of representation and language becomes so crucial to artists during this period? why modernist art is 'difficult'? Further consideration will be given to why certain writers have been excluded from the 'canon', the role of the avant-garde, the way in which modern art has been gendered, and the definitions and distinctions between modernism and postmodernism evident in the work of such theorists as Luckacs, Adorno, Brecht, Benjamin, Jameson and Lyotard.


Module Outline
1. Introduction: Modernism, Modernity, Modernization
2. Aestheticism, Myth and Politics
W B Yeats - The Tower; The Winding Stair; extracts from A Vision
3. Culture and Hegemony: "Articulate Raids"
T S Eliot - Tradition and the Individual Talent; Four Quartets; Ash Wednesday
4. A Modernist Odyssey: 'Myth and Order'
James Joyce - Ulysses
5. 'Curios of signs' and 'alphabettyformed verbiage'
James Joyce - Ulysses; Finnegan's Wake (extracts)
6. Engendering a Modernist Aesthetic
Gertrude Stein - Tender Buttons
7. Imagism and the Object: "Dichten = Condensare"
Ezra Pound - Hugh Selwyn Mauberley; The Cantos
8. Myth, History and Herself Defined
H.D. Trilogy
9. Gender, Language and Silence
Virginia Woolf - The Waves
10. Power/Knowledge/Gender
D H Lawrence - The Rainbow

The Hugh Owen Library is well stocked with texts in this field and on these authors, and is extremely well supplemented by the texts in the National Library. A short indicative bibliography is listed below, but specific bibliographies on the module subjects will be handed out on a weekly basis:

Barker, Francis, The Sociology of Literature: Vol 1: The Politics of Modernism. University of Essex, 1979.
Bell, Daniel. The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. Heinemann, 1976.
Benjamin, A, (ed). The Problems of Modernity. Routledge, 1990.
Benjamin,Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" in Illuminations ed. Hannah Arendt. Fontana, 1973.
---. Understanding Brecht. Verso, 1983.
Berger, John. The Moment of Cubism. Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1969.
Bergonzi, Bernard. The Myth of Modernism. Harvester, 1986.
Berman, Marshall. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air. Verso, 1983.
Bradbury, Malcolm, and McFarlane, James, (eds). Modernism: 1890-1930. Penguin, 1976.
Breton, Andre. What is Surrealism?. Pluto Press, 1978.
Collier, Peter, and Davies, Judy, (eds). Modernism and the European Unconscious. St.Martin's Press, 1990.
Fokkema, D.W. Modernist Conjectures. C.Hurst, 1987.
Foster, Hal. The Anti-Aesthetic. Bay Press, 1983.
Fuller, Peter. Aesthetics After Modernism. Writers and Readers Publishing Co-Op, 1983.
Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide. Macmillan, 1988.
Lukacs, Georg. "The Ideology of Modernism" in The Meaning of Contemporary Realism. Merlin Press, 1963.
Lunn, Eugene. Marxism and Modernism. Verso, 1987.
Josipovici, Gabriel. The Lessons of Modernism. Macmillan, 1977.
Moretti, Franco. Signs Taken For Wonders. Verso, 1983.
Reiss, Timothy J. The Discourse of Modernism. Cornell U.P., 1982.
Ross, Andrew. The Failure of Modernism. Columbia U.P., 1986.
Spender, Stephen. The Struggle of the Modern. California U.P., 1963.
Stead, C.K. Pound, Yeats and Eliot and the Modernist Movement. Macmillan, 1986.
Svarny, E. "The Men of 1914". Open U.P., 1988.
Taylor, Ronald, (ed). Aesthetics and Politics. Verso, 1980.
White, Allon. The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism. RKP, 1981.
Williams, Raymond. Culture and Society, 1780-1950. Penguin, 1961.
---, The Politics of Modernism. Verso, 1990.

Reading Lists

** Essential Reading
W B Yeats Selected Poems (ed T Webb) Penguin
James Joyce Ulyssess Penguin
T S Eliot Collected Poems Faber
Ezra Pound Selected Poems 1908-1959 Faber
Virginia Woolf The Waves Penguin
D H Lawrence The Rainbow Penguin
Gertrude Stein Tender Buttons Dover
HD Trilogy New Directions


This module is at CQFW Level 6