Fall 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
HUSL 7360 Section 501
M Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
American Modernist Twenties

Description of Course:


Note: This is from an old syllabus. Dates and possibly some texts and assignments for fall 2012 will change.

American modernism arrived belatedly in the 1920s, but with a vengeance. A new generation emerged, born in the 90s most of them, schooled on the slaughter and disillusionment of World War I, eager to build on the breakthroughs of the prewar modernists and to shock the American "booboisie."

Our survey of this decade rounds up many of the usual suspects: Anderson, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Cummings, Williams, Stevens, and Moore. A few are notably missing: Pound and Eliot had long since put America behind them; Lewis and Cather were not really modernists. And a few lesser known faces appear: Katherine Anne Porter, Hart Crane, and Jean Toomer. In modernist drama, O'Neill dominates (Desire Under the Elms, The Great God Brown), but we’ll also read an expressionistic drama by Elmer Rice. Malcolm Cowley's memoir-cum-literary history of the period will provide historical context; other topics include: the expatriates, the little magazines, and American art and music in the 20s.

Required Texts:

Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (Norton critical edition)
Hemingway, In Our Time (Simon & Schuster)
Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (Norton critical edition)
Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Marriner books)
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Rice, The Adding Machine (Samuel French)
Eugene O'Neill: Complete Plays 1920-1931 (Library of America)
Cowley, Exile's Return
Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, vol. 1

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students will give an oral report (30-45 minutes) on an author or topic from the syllabus, and write a research paper (c. 15 pp.). Class participation is essential.

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