This is not intended to be a survey of twentieth century English literature. The purpose of this course is to look in some detail at two major literary movements that came to dominate twentieth century English literature – modernism and postmodernism. For both movements the course will focus on fiction. A selection of representative texts will be examined in some detail and from a number of theoretical perspectives.
This capstone seminar focuses on the work of W. B. Yeats, the greatest Irish poet of his generation, who spanned the transition from the late Victorian to the modernist era. The seminar will pay attention not just to his poetry, but to his plays, his autobiographies and his changing philosophical positions. Because he attempted to fuse his life with the literary, dramatic and nationalist currents of the time in order to make it representative, his biography will be an integral part of the course. In focusing on the work of this major author, the seminar will introduce students to the wealth of scholarship surrounding W. B. Yeats and to Irish literature and politics during his lifetime.
The course studies works representing the scope and variety of themes and types of imaginative literature. It offers an introduction to three major literary genres - poetry, fiction, and drama - and to methods of critical expository writing.