ENGL 544: British Modernism (Fall 2016)
Schedule Number 21315
Class Days: Mondays and Wednesdays
Class Times: 3:30–4:45pm
Class Location: Hardy Tower 022
Instructor: Dr. Adam Hammond
Office Hours Times (and by appointment): Mondays and Wednesdays, 10–11:00am
Office Hours Location: Arts and Letters 213
The modernist period (roughly 1880–1950) was among the most vibrant and inventive in British literature. A time of rapid and radical change, it saw the development of new communications technologies like the radio and cinema, the massive upheavals of two world wars, the decline of the British Empire, and paradigm-crushing developments in psychology (Freudian psychoanalysis), philosophy (the unsettling of absolute truths), and science (Einstein’s relativity and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle). In this course, we will explore how British writers responded to this world in flux, and how they sought to use literature to actively intervene in it. Our course will have two focuses. First, we will investigate the bold new techniques that modernists developed for representing multiple perspectives, plural conceptions of the self, and an expanded sense of community, looking at how modernists used formal devices like stream-of-consciousness, unreliable narration, and multiple points of view to prompt their readers to re-think notions of selfhood, ethics, and politics, and testing the relevance of these techniques in our own increasingly pluralist world. Second, we will investigate modernist publication practices — self-publication, little magazines, large commercial presses, mass-circulation periodicals — in order to better understand the mechanisms by which modernists sought to disseminate their bold new ideas and techniques to a reading public and bring them to life in the public sphere.
In this course you will:
- Gain a comprehensive and multi-faceted understanding of British modernist literature and culture
- Investigate the material and historical conditions that modernist writers responded to
- Critique the modernist belief that literature could change politics by changing the way that people think
- Analyze the publication channels that modernists exploited (and created) to disseminate their word
- Perform research in online and/or print archives of modernist literature
- Explore the relevance of modernist techniques for contemporary social issues and contemporary artistic forms
- Improve your skills of literary analysis
The following required texts are available from the SDSU Bookstore:
- The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Early Twentieth Century. Volume 6A. Edited by Joseph Black et al. (Broadview Press)
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Edited by Martin A. Danahay. 3rd edition. (Broadview Press)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Edited by Norman Page. (Broadview Press)
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Annotated and with an introduction by Bonnie Kime Scott (Harcourt)
- Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (Back Bay Books)
- Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys (W. W. Norton)
Other texts are linked from the syllabus and/or available on Blackboard.
Course Structure and Conduct
This is a lecture-discussion course. Participation and attendance are very important in this course. Participation in online discussions is also very important.
We will discuss sensitive subjects in this course. I expect all students to respect all other students during these discussions. In accordance with California state law, discrimination based on the following categories will not be tolerated: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation and identity, AIDS/HIV, medical condition, political activities or affiliations, military or veteran status, or status as a victim of domestic violence, assault, or stalking.
Course Assessment and Grading
Your final grade will be based on the following:
- This grade is determined equally by (a) your in-class contributions during lecture and group presentations, and (b) your contributions to the course discussion board on Blackboard. You are expected to make one post per week (approximately 250 words) and to reply to one other student’s posts. Your posts can be on any topic related to that week’s course material: something you liked, something you hated, something interesting that you noticed, etc. Posts and comments should demonstrate that you’ve engaged thoughtfully with the assigned materials. Posts and comments must be submitted by 11:59pm Sunday; no late submissions are accepted.
- In the first part of the semester, each student will make a presentation related to modernist publishing, either alone or in a group of 2. Your grade will be determined equally by (a) your in-class presentation and (b) a 1000-word essay outlining and expanding upon your most interesting findings. The essay — which each student must submit on their own; this isn’t a group production — is due two weeks after the group presentation (i.e., when it’s due depends on when you make your presentation).
Advertisement and Manifesto for Magazine (15%)
- In the second part of the semester, each student will either join a group in making a modernist magazine or make an independently-produced zine. Before submitting the final magazine or zine, each group/individual will create an advertisement and write a manifesto for their publication.
Final Project: Modernist Magazine or Zine (30%)
- At the end of the term, you will submit your group-produced magazine or independently-produced zine.
Final Exam (15%)
- The final exam will consist of three sections: identification of passages, discussion of key literary terms, and a short essay.
All late assignments will be reduced 3% per day, including weekends. Assignments will not be accepted more than one week after the due date. Online discussion and commentary is not accepted past the weekly deadline of Sunday at 11:59pm.
Attendance and Participation
Each student is permitted to miss up to three weeks of online discussion and commentary. Every week beyond this will reduce your overall participation grade by 10% (e.g., missing four weeks [3 + 1] of online discussion will reduce your participation grade by 10%; missing five weeks [3 + 2] will reduce your participation grade by 20%).
Attendance in lecture is necessary. If you anticipate missing more than three class sessions, please drop this course. If you are a campus athlete, please provide a complete list of classes you will miss by September 14th.
Students with Disabilities
If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact Student Disability Services at (619) 594-6473. To avoid any delay in the receipt of your accommodations, you should contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive, and that accommodations based upon disability cannot be provided until you have presented your instructor with an accommodation letter from Student Disability Services. Your cooperation is appreciated.
The University adheres to a strict policy regarding cheating and plagiarism. These activities will not be tolerated in this class. Become familiar with the policy (http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/srr/conduct1.html). Any cheating or plagiarism will result in failing this class and a disciplinary review by Student Affairs.
Examples of Plagiarism include but are not limited to:
- Using sources verbatim or paraphrasing without giving proper attribution (this can include phrases, sentences, paragraphs and/or pages of work)
- Copying and pasting work from an online or offline source directly and calling it your own
- Using information you find from an online or offline source without giving the author credit
- Replacing words or phrases from another source and inserting your own words or phrases
- Submitting a piece of work you did for one class to another class
If you have questions on what is plagiarism, please consult the policy (http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/srr/conduct1.html) and this helpful guide from the Library: (http://infodome.sdsu.edu/infolit/exploratorium/Standard_5/plagiarism.pdf)
|August 29||Introduction: moDernIYsm|
|August 31||Stevenson, the Lighthouse Engineer of Human Souls
|No Class (Labor Day)|
|September 12||Strange Case of Type: An Introduction to Modernist Print Culture|
|September 14||Wilde: The Politics of Indirectness
|September 26||Conrad and the Politics of Reading Against the Grain
|September 28||Presentation #2|
|October 3||Modernism and the Archive: a (Special) Visit to Love Library’s Special Collections at the Love Library with Anna Culbertson. This class session meets in LA 4410.|
|October 5||“Modernism Happened in the Magazines”
|October 10||Presentation #3: Famous Modernist Poets Before They Were Famous Modernist Poets: Pound and Eliot in Blast 2
|October 12||Presentation #4: Poetry (the first magazine advertised in Blast 1)
|October 17||Presentation #5: The Egoist (the second magazine advertised in Blast 1)
|October 19||Poetry of World War I (BABL 101–113)
|October 24||Presentation #6: Publishing War Poets|
|October 26||Symbols, Sex, and Sameness
|October 31||Presentation #7: Katherine Mansfield and Magazines|
|November 2||Presentation #8: Virginia Woolf, the Hogarth Press, and the Origin of the “DIY Ethic”
|November 7||Virginia Woolf, Modeling Radical Empathy
|November 16||Jean Rhys and the Voice of the Other
|November 21||How to Make Zines and Magazines: A(nother) Visit to Special Collections.
This class session meets in LA 4410.
||Advertisements for Magazines/Zines Due|
|November 30||Evelyn Waugh: What Was the Point of Modernism?
||Manifestos Due and to be Presented in Class|
|December 12||Yeats: Modernism and Mysticism
Auden: Queer Modernism
|December 14||Stevie Smith: F&@# Modernism!
|December 21||Final exam (1-3pm)|
This syllabus is subject to change.
Your remaining in this class constitutes acceptance of the conditions outlined in this syllabus.
Please be aware that we will discuss sensitive issues in the course, related to topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and politics.