Course: Modernisms

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Art & Design, English, Humanities and Social Sciences, Performing Arts
Course Code
ENGL 2212
Section Code
Spring 2024
Course Description

This course is meant to be “a study of important British writers from the Romantic era to the present,” but I propose that we approach it as an opportunity to consider the meaning of “modern” as a classification of writing. Two definitions of modern from the OED: “being in existence at this time” and “characterized by a departure from or a repudiation of accepted or traditional styles and values” suggest that the creative works considered modern are likely always changing. This is not to be confused with capital “M” movements, groups, or styles like Modernist literature or Modern art. These are names given to categories created by scholars and critics making sense of creative works (often after the fact). I’ve learned that Modernist literature can feel far from modern to students in 2024. We’re going to keep this contradiction in the back of our minds this semester as we focus on literary innovations that emerged in the last two hundred or so years.

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