Foto: Matthias Friel
The course introduces into a period of crucial transition in Britain from the early 20th to the 21st century, a century of immense, thorough social, political, cultural changes, challenges and threats. We will focus on social, cultural and literary phenomena and follow up some major developments throughout the 20th century. Modernism, World War I/II, Cold War are only a few keywords that relate to this course project and find repercussions in a wide range of partly controversial experimental and avantgarde trends in arts (incl. literature). In literature, this primarily relates to a rejection of 19th-century traditions and conventions and a termination of the previous consensus between author and reader in traditional realism. Modernists, then, regarded themselves as a cosmopolitan avantgarde subverting bourgeois values. This subversion was expressed both in complex formal experiment and in provocative subject matter such as urban cultural dislocation. The realism-based continuity of chronological development was challenged new ways of tracing the flow of characters thoughts found expression in the stream-of-consciousness technique. Complex collages of fragmentary images substituted allusions to logical, teleological exposition of thoughts and can be read as repercussions of the writers alert awareness of new anthropological and psychological theories. The trauma of World War I and II and the Holocaust as well as the Cold War left repercussions in the arts too, for sure and certainly contributed to the development of postmodernist aesthetics.
J Joyce, “The Dead”; V Woolf, Mrs Dalloway; V Woolf, “Kew Gardens”; Jean Rhys, “Let Them Call It Jazz”; Jackie Kay, “Out of Hands.” Why Don’t you Stop Talking; Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things; Sara Maitland, “The Angel Maker.” Angel Maker.
Optional further primary reading:
Bernardine Evaristo, Lara; Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber; Michele Roberts, Playing Sardines; Zadie Smith, White Teeth; Salman Rushdie, East, West; Ravinder Randhawa, ed., Right of Way. Prose and Poetry by the Asian Women Writers’ Workshop; Monica Ali, Brick Lane.
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