ENGL 5529-001

Media History: Print Lab, Thora Brylowe

You hold a book in your hands. On its title page there is a date: MDCCXIV. What is this book? What is its relationship to the text it contains? Who made it and what is the maker's relationship to the person or people who wrote its text? How does it differ from a book from 2014? What historical and institutional forces shaped your encounter with this book? Why was this particular book preserved for 300 years, and who kept it safe? This course encourages participants to ask these kinds of questions and asks students to stage encounters like this for each other. Answers come through a combination of archival research, bibliographical analysis, and hands-on workshops. The class meets in the Media Archeology Lab and students will have the opportunity to use printing presses, experiment with early writing technologies, and examine old books. In addition, students will read media theory, write papers, and develop projects that help us understand the physical transmission of culture, knowledge and history.

MA Designation: Elective, A (Formalisms)

ENGL 5529-002

Literature and Culture of WWI, Jeremy Green

World War One is inescapable.  It is the founding event of the short twentieth century (1914-89), the first total war, and the catastrophe that shattered all ideas of social progress.  The ‘war to end all wars’ (H.G. Wells coined the phrase) brought the methods of industrial capitalism to the battlefield; it was a four-year period of accelerated technological innovation, rapid social change, and psychic devastation.  The war was also integral to the development of literary and cultural modernism.  Even after a hundred years and more, historians continue to debate the sources and meaning of the war: it remains resistant to comprehension, even as stereotyped images of trench warfare circulate in popular culture. 

In this course we will explore the literary, critical, historical, and theoretical discourses through which the Great War may be made at least partially legible.  We will examine the literature of nationalism, testimony, trauma, remembrance and aftermath.  We will also explore the less examined aspects of the war, including the home front, imprisonment, conscientious objection, and the fate of veterans.  Although our main focus will be on Anglophone literature (British and American), we will touch on some translated works.  The reading list will include: Ford Madox Ford, Vera Brittain, H.G. Wells, Rose Macaulay, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg, Ernst Junger, Rebecca West, John Dos Passos, e.e. cummings, David Jones, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf.  Response papers, term paper, presentation.

MA Designation: Literature After 1800, D (Cultures/Politics/Histories)