ENG 395: 20th Century Literature
Instructor: Corbett Upton
Start date: July 19
After the cataclysm of WWII, the old order was beginning to crumble. In this aftermath, many artists viewed the structures of empire and capital that undergirded Western civilization with deep suspicion and began to challenge the world that had wrought such destruction, to challenge the modern, to seek the post-modern. To challenge the status quo, then, in many ways, was an ethical response, if not a postwar imperative, that sought to affirm the value and dignity of the individual human life. In this class, we’ll explore the ways that artists sought to make way for new stories and forms that acknowledged their own and others’ humanity.
We’ll read a play, poetry, journalism, and a novel: Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Gwendolyn Brooks’s Selected Poems, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine.