Readings in 20th and 21st C American Literature and Culture (Post-1800)

L634 — Fall 2020

Scott Herring
Days and Times
2:30p - 3:45p TR (4 CR)
Course Description

TOPIC: American Modernist Studies, New and Old


Forty years later, this seminar advances what literary and cultural critic Kathleen Woodward memorably termed “an aging Modernism” in 1980.  Extending her path-breaking observations as well as those of other leading age theorists such as Margaret Morganroth Gullette, “American Modernist Studies, New and Old” explores how transformative talk about aging—broadly conceived, widely envisioned—infused modernist achievements across the long twentieth century.  To do so it brings together primary and secondary readings that speak to refrains of antiquity, modernism’s ambiguous heritage in the contemporary, disability and aging, midlife and late-life poetics, gendering, and issues of sexual experimentalism and aesthetic wrinkling. Taken together these materials offer fresh perspective on US modernist studies by providing (1) innovative glimpses into assorted modernisms within and beyond the years between the First and Second World Wars; (2) new conversations that put modernist studies in deeper colloquy with age studies; and (3) unanticipated vantage points for cultural studies of aging when viewed through avant-garde aesthetic productions across the globe.  We will also spend a third of this class surveying research methods into archival literary studies that includes hands-on special collections at our local resources, online digital archives, and recent developments in archival theory that dovetail with our topic-at-hand. 


Required Texts:

  1. Gertrude Atherton, Black Oxen
  2. Djuna Barnes, Collected Poems with Notes Toward the Memoirs
  3. James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
  4. Willa Cather, My Àntonia
  5. S. Eliot, Complete Poems and Plays
  6. Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Aged by Culture
  7. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  8. Sean Latham and Gayle Rogers, Modernism: Evolution of an Idea
  9. Marianne Moore, Complete Poems
  10. Tillie Olsen, Yonnondio: From the Thirties
  11. Gertrude Stein, A Stein Reader

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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