|| ENM6420 |
|| SHOP TILL YOU DROP: FICTION AND CONSUMER CULTURE 1880-1935 |
|| 2004/2005 |
|| Dr Christoph P Lindner |
|| Semester 2 |
|| Good honours degree |
|| ENM0120 , ENM0220 , Three other MA option modules |
| Course delivery
|| Seminars / Tutorials || 10 Hours Seminar. (5 X 2 hours) |
On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
1. demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the texts studied on the module, and a specialist knowledge of the broader critical and theoretical issues associated with the study of modern literature and consumer culture;
2. demonstrate this understanding and knowledge in an extended critical and analytical essay that makes reference to the cultural and historical contexts of the text(s) under review;
3. produce organized, coherently argued, and critically informed written work.
This module aims:
1. to provide a focused overview of literary responses to the rise of consumer culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries;
2. to locate these literary responses in their historical and cultural contexts;
3. to allow students to gain experience in the practical application of critical / cultural theory to the interpretation and analysis of texts.
What is retail therapy? Why is shopping fun? Where does desire end and ideology begin in a world of mass consumption? Engaging with such questions, this module explores how writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries sought to represent and come to terms with the rise of consumer culture. Moving through the naturalism of Emile Zola and Theodore Dreiser to the modernism of Joseph Conrad and Aldous Huxley, we will focus in particular on the impact of consumerism on narrative vision and literary practice.
1. The rise of consumer culture
Themes for discussion: what is consumerism? historical and social background, cultural conditions, material forms, literary responses.
Main text: David Hawkes, Ideology
2. Shopping for Pleasure
Themes for discussion: flanerie, fetishism, desire, spectacle, exhibition, gender and seduction.
Main text: Emile Zola, The Ladies' Paradise
3. The Metropolis on Display
Themes for discussion: urban growth, metropolitan culture, predatory consumers, domesticity, gender and performance.
Main text: Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
4. Decadence and Decay
Themes for discussion: urban space, constructing time, anarchy, pornography, gender and politics.
Main text: Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
5. Everything for Sale
Themes for discussion: dystopias, mass culture, consumer psychology, discourse, agency, subjectivity.
Main text: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
** Should Be Purchased
David Hawkes (2003) Ideology (2nd edition)
Routledge: New Critical Idiom series 0415290120
Emile Zola (1998) The Ladies' Paradise
Oxford World's Classics 0192836021
Theodore Dreiser (1998) Sister Carrie
Oxford World's Classics 0192835742
Joseph Conrad (2000) The Secret Agent
Penguin Modern Classics 0141182628
Aldous Huxley (2004) Brave New World
** Recommended Background
Rachel Bowlby (1985) Just Looking: Consumer Culture in Dreiser, Gissing and Zola
Rachel Bowlby (1993) Shopping With Freud
Stephen Kern (1983) The Culture of Time and Space: 1880-1918
Deborah L. Parsons (2000) Streetwalking the Metropolis: Women, the City and Modernity
Thomas Richards (1991) The Commodity Culture of Victorian England: Advertising and Spectacle 1851-1914
Randall Stevenson (1992) Modernist Fiction
This module is at CQFW Level 7