Fall 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
HUMA 3300 Section 001
MW Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
Reading and Writing Texts

Description of Course:

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

This introductory course to the School of Arts and Humanities devotes a semester to answering the question “What is Modernism?” Not simply a style, a period, or a movement, modernism was a revolutionary upheaval that swept through all the Western arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, subverting centuries-old traditions regarding form, content, and the artist’s relation to society.

Although we don’t have time to encompass all the arts, we will study modernist painting (extensively), music, poetry, and samples of drama, and fiction. Following some classes on historical and philosophical context, we will begin with formalist revolutions, asking “What is a modernist painting/poem/novel?” The course then considers revolutions in theme and content and ends by studying the confrontational relationship between the artist and society.

Required Texts:

Christopher Butler, Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 (Oxford U. Press)
Milton A. Cohen, Movement, Manifesto, Melee: the Modernist Group, 1910-1914
(Lexington Books)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Mariner Books)
Strindberg, A Dream Play [in Strindberg: Plays: Two] (Methuen)
packet of readings

Assigned art can be found inArtStor data base (through McDermott Library) or in packet, texts, or on the Google website. See list following syllabus for specific art works.
Music selections can be found in Naxos data base (McDermott Library) or on YouTube.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students will write two 5-6 page papers. One will be an analysis of a modernist painting, poem, or musical composition; the other will discuss a modernist work in a particular context: historical, philosophical, avant-gardist (a group or movement), etc. (60% of grade).

Students will also write six 1-2 pp. reaction papers on major works. These reaction papers will count as 65% of class participation (which is 40% of the final grade). Reaction papers will include:
• one on a modernist painting at the DMA; due by 9/19
• one on a modernist musical composition; due by 10/05
• one on a modernist poem from the syllabus; due by 10/19
• one on Mrs. Dalloway (Mariner Books); due: 10/24-10/26
• one on A Dream Play [in Strindberg: Plays: Two] (Methuen); due: 11/09
• one free choice on any assigned work (painting, composition, poem, essay, manifesto, etc.); due: any time up to 11/28

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