Humanities 305

M O D E R N I Z A T I O N   A N D   M O DE R N I S M

English and Humanities
Foreign Languages and Literature

Humanities 305 offers an exploration of the culture of the western Europe and the United States since the mid-19th century, organized around the concepts of modernization and modernism.  The course will examine the relationship of the values developed in literature and the visual arts to those expressed through social, political, and economic ideas, emphasizing such major figures as Marx, Marinetti, Lawrence, O’Neill, Kafka, Freud, Kandinsky, Chaplin, and Hitler.

 

INTRODUCTION

A: ORGANIZATION OF THE COURSE / B: THEORETICAL CONCEPTS

Irving Howe: "The Idea of the Modern" in The Idea of the Modern in Literature and the Visual Arts (1967) 11-40  (xerox)

Jochen Schulte-Sasse: "Foreword: Theory of Modernism versus Theory of the Avant-Garde" (1984), in Peter Bürger's Theory of the Avant-Garde (1974, 1980; Engl. transl., 1984)  vii-xlvii, 100-105 (optional)

ECONOMIC LIFE IN THE MODERN STATE:  THE IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES OF MODERNIZATION

Weeks 2, 3 and 4              

Karl Marx: "Estranged Labour,"  from Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844) xerox pp.70-81

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) (only I and II) xerox pp.469-91

G.W. Pabst: Joyless Street (1925) (video) 96 min.

Fritz Lang: Metropolis (1926) (video)

Slatan Dudow/Bertolt Brecht: Kuhle Wampe (1932) (film version)

Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times (1936) (video) 87 min.

Friedrich Kroner: “ Overwrought Nerves” (1923) WRS63-4

Heinrich Hauser: “The Unemployed” (1933) WRS84-5

Hans Georg: “Our Stand at the Abyss” (1921) WRS182-3

Margot Starke: “The Bank Clerk” (1923) WRS 183-4

Fritz Schröder: “The Labor Market for White-Collar Workers”  (1924) WRS184-5

Hilde Walter: “The Misery of the ‘New Mittelstand’” (1929) WRS 187-9

Siegfried Kracauer: “Shelter for the Homeless” (1930) WRS 189-91

Theodor Geiger: [The Old and New Middle Classes] (1932) WRS 191-4

George Grosz: Faces of the Ruling Class (1921) (handout)

Eugene O'Neill: The Hairy Ape (1921)

F.T. Marinetti: “The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism (wr. 1908; publ. 1909) xerox

Langston Hughes: “Brass Spittoons”

Walt Whitman: “The Muse in the New World” (from “Song of the Exposition)

Amy Lowell: “The Taxi”

Carl Sandburg: “Chicago”

Carl Sandburg: “Prayers of Steel”

Hart Crane: Power: Cape Hatteras (from “The Bridge”)

T.S. Eliot: “Rhapsody on a Windy Night”

E.E. Cummings: “Poem, or Beauty hurts Mr. Vinal”

W.B. Yeats: “The Second Coming”

Johannes R. Becher: “Our Front” (1928) WRS 234-6

Otto Biha: “The Proletarian Mass Novel” (1930) WRS 239-40

THE RISE OF THE NEW WOMAN: ENLIGHTENMENT IN THE WORKPLACE AND ON SEXUALITY AND THE RESULTANT REACTIONARY BACKLASH

part one

Week 5 (first half)

Hans Ostwald: A Moral History of the Inflation (excerpt) (1931) WRS77-8

Rosa Luxemburg/Clara Zeller, eds. Die Kommunistin: [Manifesto for Int’l Women’s Day] (1921) WRS 198-9

Manfred Georg: “The Right to Abortion” (1922) WRS 200-2

Gabriele Tergit: “Paragraph 218: A Modern Gretchen Tragedy” (1926) WRS 202-3

Else Kienle: “The Kienle Case” (1931) WRS 213-6.

Else Herrmann “This is the New Woman” (1929) WRS 206-8.

Textile Workers: “My Workday, My Weekend” (1930) WRS 208-10

Hilde Water: “Twilight for Women?” (1931) WRS 210-11

League of German Women’s Clubs:“Position Paper--Women’s Work & the Economic Crisis” (1931) WRS 212-3

Siegfried Kracauer: “Working Women” (1932) WRS 216-8

Alice Rühle-Gerstel: “Back to the Good Old Days?” (1933) WRS 218-9

THE INFLUENCE OF NIETZSCHE AND FREUD: “PERVERSITY,” “PRIMITIVISM,”  ANGST & NIHILISM AS DEFINING FEATURES OF THE MODERN AGE

Weeks 5 (second half), 6, 7, and 8

Friedrich Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy (1870-1871)

Sigmund Freud: Civilization and its Discontents (1930); An Outline of Psycho-Analysis (beg. 1938; pub. 1940)

Charles Brenner: pp. 80-96 of “The Psychic Apparatus.” In: An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis (rev. ed. 1973)

Fritz Lang: M  (video, 1931)

Thomas Mann: Death in Venice (1911) and Luchino Visconti: Death in Venice (1971) (video)

Jacobus de Voragine (ca. 1229-98) Legenda aurea [The Golden Legend: readings on the saints] (excerpt on St. Sebastian)

George B. von der Lippe: “Death in Venice in Literature and Film: six 20th-century versions,” Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature [Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada] 32.1 (1999): 35-54.

Thomas Mann: “Freud and the Future” (1936) (excerpt)

Franz Kafka: Letter to Father (1919)

Frederick Hoffman. “Escape from Father” (excerpt, pp. 238-41). In Angel Flores, ed. The Kafka Problem.

Franz Kafka: The Judgment (wr. 1912/pub. 1913), The Metamorphosis (w. 1912/p. 1915)

The Bible: Genesis 2 through Genesis 4

Reiner Stach. “Kafka’s Egoless Woman: Otto Weininger’s ‘Sex and Character.’” Transl. N. Donahue. In Mark Anderson, ed. Reading Kafka: Prague, politics, and the fin de siècle, 1989.

Erich Fromm. Man for Himself: an inquiry into the psychology of ethics (1947) (excerpt pp. 166-71).

Orson Welles: The Trial (1962) (based on Kafka's novel The Trial) (video)

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Week 9 SPRING BREAK / NO CLASSES

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THE RISE OF THE NEW WOMAN: ENLIGHTENMENT IN THE WORKPLACE AND ON SEXUALITY

part two

Weeks 10 and 11

D.H. Lawrence: Women in Love (wr. 1916; pub. 1920) and Ken Russell: Women in Love (1969) (video) 131 min.

Virginia Woolf: A Room of One's Own (1929) (handout) and (ca.1990-video with Eileen Atkins) 55 min

REVOLUTION IN LITERATURE AND THE OTHER ARTS

Weeks 12, 13, 14, and 15

 the politics of visual art: from Kandinsky’s apocalyptic utopianism through dada’s low-brow experimenting and the new objectivity’s embrace of the machine age to the Nazi equation of “modern art” as “Degenerate Art”

José Ortega Y Gassett: "The Dehumanization of Art" (1925) (xerox)

Terry Eagleton: "Form and Content" (only pp. 20-27) from his Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976) (xerox)

Wassily Kandinsky: Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911/12)

Pablo Picasso: Guernica (1937) and Les Demoiselles d’Avigon (1907)

John Heartfield and George Grosz: “The Art Scab” (1920) WRS 483-6

Handout of works by Heartfield, Grosz, Dix, Schmidt-Rottluff

misc. pieces by Ball, Schwitters et al

Carl Einstein: “Otto Dix” (1923) WRS 490-1

Paul Schultze-Naumburg: “Art and Race” (1928) WRS 496-9

Juxtaposition of works by Schmidt-Rottluff/Modigliani and photos of facial deformities

Adolph Hitler: Mein Kampf [My Struggle] (ca. 1925-27) (excerpts) (handout)

German Workers’ Party (DAP): “The Twenty-five Points” (1932) WRS 124-6

R.W. Darré: “Marriage Laws and the Principles of Breeding” (1930) WRS 133-7

Joseph Goebbels: “Why are we the Enemies of the Jews?” (1930) WRS 137-8

new mass media: art in the age of mechanical reproduction

(film as an artistic medium and as a propagandistic tool)

Walter Benjamin: “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936) xerox                               

Leni Riefenstahl: Triumph of the Will (1935) (video) 80 min.

King Vidor: Our Daily Bread: inspired by headlines of today (1929) (video) 74 min.

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali: Un chien Andalou. (1928) (video) 16 min.

Willi Münzberg: “Conquer Film” (1925) WRS 228-30

Friedrich Wolf “Art is a Weapon!” (1928) WRS 230-1

Kurt Tucholsky: “Radio Censorship” (1928) WRS 603

Arno Schirokauer: “Art and Politics in Radio” (1929) WRS 609-10

Siegfried Kracauer: “The Task of the Film Critic” (1932) WRS 634-5

modernism/elitism versus the avant-garde/the masses (literature and music)

Percy Bysshe Shelley: “A Defence of Poetry” (wr. 1821; pub. 1840), “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” (1816/17) xerox

Selected poems from 20th century modernist and avant-garde writers

T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land (1922); W.B. Yeats: “Leda and the Swan” and “Second Coming”  (1921)

Bertolt Brecht: The Three-Penny Opera (1928) / G.W. Pabst: The Three-Penny Opera (1931) (video)

Kurt Weill: Correspondence about The Threepenny Opera” (1929) WRS 576-8

Hanns Eisler: “Progress in the Workers’ Music Movement” (1931) WRS 240-2

Erwin Piscator: “The Documentary Play” (1929) WRS 543-6

Alice Gerstel: “Jazz Band”  (1922) WRS 554-5

Katharina Rathaus: “Charleston: Every Age has the Dance it Deserves” (1926) WRS 558-9

Ivan Goll: “The Negroes are Conquering Europe” (1926) WRS 559-60

Joseph Goebbels: “Around the Gedächtniskirche” (1928) WRS 560-2

THE EXPANDED ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN MODERN WARFARE

Week 16

Richard Rhodes: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986) chapters 1-5 (13-103) xerox

Albert Einstein/Sigmund Freud: “Why War?” (wr. 1932; publ. 1933) WRS 25-34

Ezra Pound: “These fought in any case”  and “There died a myriad” (from Hugh Selwyn Mauberley)

Ezra Pound: “CANTO XVI” from The Cantos

LIMITS OF THE MODERN: TWO CONCEPTS REVISITED

Last period

READING ASSIGNMENTS 

 Assigned readings provide the essential materials of the course.  Some selections may prove more difficult than others and perseverance will be needed.  Nearly all of the reading assignments involve major works and will handsomely repay the effort invested in understanding them.  Each student is responsible for all required readings listed and for those which may be assigned later.

EXAMINATIONS 

There will be two examinations during the course: a take-home midterm and a final. 

The midterm will be worth 30% of the course grade; questions will be distributed on March 11, with answers due March 15.

The final – on Monday, May 13 from 12-2 pm – will count for 30% of the course grade.

PAPERS 

One paper, (2-3 pages) will be due early in the term.  The paper will be commented upon, but only a + or – will be awarded.  

A second paper (5-8 pages/1 page = 250 words) will be assigned shortly after midterm break, due toward the end of term.  This paper will be worth 30% of the final grade. This paper must be analytical in content and firmly grounded in a knowledge of the sources; at the same time, given the nature of the course, this paper will necessarily involve interpretation, speculation, and conjecture.  We urge you to pursue your ideas boldly.  The evaluation of this paper will be based on coherence of argument, sophistication of approach, integrity of evidence, clarity of style, and success in responding directly and fully to the assignment.

PRESENTATION

Each student, as a member of a group, will be responsible for one oral presentation lasting approximately 30 minutes on a topic chosen by the professors.  This presentation will be worth 10% of the course grade.

ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION 

Class discussion will play an important role in the exploration of materials and concepts. Students will be expected to contribute to these discussions.  Reading appropriate materials prior to each class meeting is merely a first step; adequate preparation must also include thinking about the readings and searching for meanings and connections. 

Attendance will not be taken; yet attendance at each class is important.  Those not in attendance are not participating in the work of the course; we therefore reserve the right to lower a final grade by one full grade, if attendance (if you miss 4 of the sessions) or participation (if you are consistently unprepared) is deemed lacking.

Kandinski