ENGL 544: British Modernism (Spring 2016)
Schedule Number 21216
Class Days: Mondays and Wednesdays
Class Times: 2:00–3:15pm
Class Location: AH 2103
Instructor: Dr. Adam Hammond
Office Hours Times (and by appointment): Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00am–noon
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 focus will be on the bold new techniques that modernists developed for representing multiple perspectives, plural conceptions of the self, and an expanded sense of community. We will investigate 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 we will test the relevance of these techniques in our own increasingly pluralist world.
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
- Learn how modernist writers believed literature could change politics by changing the way that people think
- Explore the relevance of modernist techniques for contemporary social issues and contemporary artistic forms
- Improve your skills of literary analysis
- Learn how to write excellent research papers
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)
- Howards End by E. M. Forster (Barnes and Noble Classics)
- The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. Edited by Kenneth Womack & William Baker (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 during the Peer Review session, 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 comment on 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.
Introduction to a Hypothetical Essay Comparing a Modernist Poem to a Contemporary Song (5%)
- A low-risk exercise in writing clear thesis statements and compelling introductory paragraphs, and in building bridges between contemporary and modernist forms
Short Essay or Creative Intervention (25%)
- A short critical essay of approx. 1000 words; or, a short Creative Intervention accompanied by a critical essay of approx. 500 words explaining why the intervention is needed
Outline and Annotated Bibliography for Final Project (20%)
- Approximately one month before your Final Project is due, you will submit a detailed outline accompanied by an annotated bibliography
Final Project (30%)
- A research essay of approx. 2000 words; or, a Creative Intervention, accompanied by a research essay of approx. 1000 words explaining why the intervention is needed
Extra Credit Assignment: Digging Stuff Up in the Archives (up to +5%)
- You have the option of submitting a short paper exploring materials you’ve discovered in online archives of modernism or in the SDSU Library’s Special Collections.
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%).
Failure to participate in the Peer Review session on April 20th will reduce your participation grade by 25%.
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)
|January 20||Introduction: Modernism in Reverse|
|January 25||Anti-Modernist Modernism
|January 27||The Formal Politics of Mourning
|February 1||Auden and Queerness; Poetry and Pop
|February 3||Poetry and Revolution||Close reading|
|February 8||Poetry and Death (…and Revolution)
|February 10||Waugh and the Aftermath of Modernism
|February 22||Modernism and the Other
||MLA Formatting||Hypothetical Introduction Due (5%)|
|February 29||A Literary Machine for Generating Empathy
||Integrating Secondary Sources|
|March 9||Symbols, Sex, and Sameness (Modernist Magazines I)||Archival Research|
|March 14||Eliot Before “Eliot” (Modernist Magazines II)|
|March 16||Poetry of World War I
|March 21||Modernist Form as Anti-Propaganda Training
||Annotated Bibliographies||Short Essay or Creative Intervention Due (25%)|
|—Spring Break Roughly Symbolizes the Outbreak of World War I—|
||Extra Credit Assignment Due|
|April 6||What Modernism Looked Like Before the War (Modernist Magazines II)
|April 11||The Modernist Novel Before “Modernism”
||Final Project Outline & Annotated Bibliography Due (20%)|
||Peer Review and Revision|
|April 20||Conrad and the Politics of Complication
|April 27||Peer Review||Final Project First Draft Due|
|May 2||Stevenson as Proto-Modernist: The Multiplicity of the Self
||Final Project Final Draft Due (30%)|
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.