UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies
MA MODULE: POETICS OF URBAN MODERNISM (EN928)
Module Outline in brief: seminars
Wk 1: Theorizing urban modernity: extracts from Baudelaire, Benjamin, Simmel, and others.
Wk 2: Charles Baudelaire, Les fleurs du mal/The Flowers of Evil, trans. James McGowan (OUP World’s Classics, 1993)
Wk 3: Walter Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire, trans. Howard Eiland et al. (Harvard UP, 2006)
Wk 4: Knut Hamsun, Hunger (Canongate)
Wk 5: Conrad, The Secret Agent (OUP World’s Classics)
Wk 6: T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems (Faber):‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, Preludes’, The Waste Land
Wk 7: James Joyce, ‘Wandering Rocks’, from Ulysses
Wk 8: Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (OUP World’s Classics)
Wk 9: Jean Rhys, Good Morning Midnight (Penguin)
Wk 10: Ivan Vladislavic, Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (2006)
*Poems will be discussed primarily in English translation. Set text is a dual English/French edition.
** Required edition is Annotated Students’ Edition (Penguin), ed. Declan Kiberd; alternatively, the Penguin Classics edition. Please ensure that you acquire the Penguin edition.
1. Attend seminars, having prepared material as directed by your tutor.
2. Give one seminar presentation during the term.
3. Consult with seminar tutor re. assessed work
4. Submit one assessed essay.
Assessed essay guidelines:
Your essay needs to engage with the module content, most importantly the ways urban space is represented in modernist literary writing, and/or in critical theories of urban modernity. It should discuss in detail at least one literary text covered in the module.
DETAILED OUTLINE OF SEMINARS & WEEKLY READING
Wk 1: Theorizing Urban Modernity
In the first seminar, we will sketch out some of the general contexts for the module, focussing on the terms 'modernization' 'modernity', and 'modernism', and thinking about some key theoretical texts in the urban modernity debates. We will also discuss the Set Extracts , focussing closely on selected passages. Please ensure that you have read these closely, and given some thought to how each of them engages the module themes. Most are widely anthologized, reprinted in a range of volumes, and/or available online, and in most cases the library has multiple copies.
Baudelaire, Charles. ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ in P.E. Charvet (ed), Baudelaire: Selected Writings on Art and Literature (Penguin, 1972). Pay particular attention to Section III, on 'the artist as the man of the crowd', pp. 395-403.
Simmel, Georg. ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ in Georg Simmel: On Individuality and Social Forms (Chicago, 1971), 324-39. Pay particular attention to the section on 'blasé' consciousness, pp.409-11.
Weber, Max. ‘Science as a Vocation’ in Peter Lassman and Irving Velody (eds), Max Weber’s Science as a Vocation (Unwin Hyman, 1989), 3-31. We will focus mainly on the notions of rationalization and disenchantment, pp.12-14.
Benjamin, Walter. ‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire’ in Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life (Harvard, 2006) - this is one of our set texts. We will focus particularly on Section VIII ('Fear, revulsion and horror...the jostlers').
Harvey, David. ‘Modernity and Modernism’ in The Condition of Postmodernity (Blackwell, 1989), 10-38. We will focus on the passages dealing with role of cities, pp. 24-7.
Raymond Williams, Keywords (Fontana, 1976), pp. 208-9 (for one definition of modernity).
A range of additional introductory reading is suggested on the module page bibliography. I'd pick out a couple of essays which would be particularly useful for the introductory seminar:
Marshall Berman, 'The Halo and the Highway' in All that is Solid Melts into Air. Rpt in Peter Brooker (ed), Modernism/Postmodernism.
Raymond Williams, 'Metropolitan Perceptions and the Emergence of Modernism', in The Politics of Modernism, esp. pp 44-7. Rpt. in Brooker, as above, and also in Malcolm Miles (ed) The City Cultures Reader.
- Modernism, urban space and everyday life
- The flaneur / man of the crowd
- Urban space as (hyper)stimulus
- Rationalization and technology
- Space-time compression
- Modernity and the category of 'experience'
Wk 2: Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil, tr. James McGowan (OUP, 1993)
Within this text, we will focus on the volume Tableaux Parisiens
-----------------------."The Painter of Modem Life" in Selected Writings on Art and Literature, tr. P.E. Charvet (Penguin, 1972).
------------------------. Intimate Journals, tr. Christopher Isherwood (Black Spring Press, 1989)
------------------------. The Poems in Prose, trans. Francis Scarfe, Vol 2 (Anvil, 1989). See esp. "A Lost Halo", "Crowds", "The Eyes of the Poor".
Benjamin, Walter. Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, tr. Harry Zohn (Verso, 1983)
Berman, Marshall. 'Baudelaire: Modernism in the Streets' in All that is Solid Melts into Air.
Prendergast, Christopher. Paris and the 19th Century (Blackwell, 1992). Ch. 6.
Jouve, Nicole Ward. Baudelaire: A Fire to Conquer Darkness (London: Macmillan, 1990).
Clark, T.J. The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France 1848-51. Revised ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 1999.
Lloyd, Rosemary. The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. See especially Ross Chambers, 'Baudelaire's Paris'.
Adcock, Michael. 'Remaking Urban Space: Baron Haussmann and the Rebuilding of Paris, 1851-1870'. Online.
Ferguson, Priscilla Parkhurst. Paris as Revolution: Writing the Nineteenth Century City. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.
Wk 3: Benjamin
Walter Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire, trans. Howard Eiland et al. (Harvard UP, 2006)
- Historical materialism and the Arcades Project
- Motifs: flaneur, arcades, the crowd, the prostitute, the ragpicker
- Commodity fetishism and the phantasmagoria
- Technology and sensory adaptation
Benjamin, Walter. ’The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ in Illuminations, tr. Harry Zohn (Verso, 1983)
---------------------. The Arcades Project, tr. Howard Eiland & Kevin McLaughlin (Harvard UP, 1999)
Clark, T.J. 'Should Benjamin have read Marx?' in Peter Osborne,ed. Appropriations.
Britzolakis, Christina. "Phantasmagoria: Walter Benjamin and the Poetics of Urban Modernism" in Peter Buse & Andrew Stott (eds), Ghosts: Marxism Deconstruction History (Macmillan, 1998), 72-91.
*Buck-Morss, Susan. The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (MIT, 1989). See esp. Part I.
Gilloch, Graeme. Myth and Metropolis: Walter Benjamin and the City (Polity, 1995)
Wolin, Richard. 'Experience and Materialism in Benjamin's Passagenwerk' in Gary Smith, ed. Benjamin: Philosophy, Aesthetics, History. Chicago: Chicago UP,, 1989.
Wk 4: Conrad
Set Text: Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907)
London as imperial metropolis
Degeneration: city as abyss
Disruption of narrative temporality
Immigration, 'aliens' and the East End
The anarchist as an urban figure
Carabine, Keith, ed. Joseph Conrad: Critical Assessments, Vol 3 (Mountfield: Helm, 1992)
Zimring, Rishona. "Conrad's Pornography Shop", MFS 43, 2 (Summer 1997), 319-48
Arac, Jonathan. "Romanticism, the Self, and the City: TSA in literary history", Boundary 2, 9 (1980), 75-90, rpt. in Carabine, JC: Critical Assessments, 69-82
Britzolakis, Christina. ‘Pathologies of the Imperial Metropolis: Impressionism as Traumatic Afterimage in Conrad and Ford’, Journal of Modern Literature 29.1 (2005): 1-20.
Jordan, Elaine. Joseph Conrad: New Casebooks (Macmillan, 1996)
Rebecca Stott, "The Woman in Black: Unravelling Race and Gender in The Secret Agent"', in Jordan, Joseph Conrad, 193-215.
Edmond, Rod. "Home and Away: Degeneration in Imperialist and Modernist discourse" in Booth (ed), Modernism and Empire, 46-63
Rignall, John. Realist Fiction and the Strolling Spectator (London: Routledge, 1992), 137-51
Walkowitz, Rebecca. City of Dreadful Night (London: Virago, 1992),Ch 1.
Wk 5: Modernist Poetry and Urban Space
Set Text: T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems (Faber). Focus on 'Prufrock', 'Preludes', 'Rhapsody on a Windy Night', The Waste Land
Eliot, Valerie (ed) The Waste Land Manuscript
Eliot, T.S. 'Charles Baudelaire' (1931), ‘Tradition and the individual Talent’ (1919) ‘Hamlet and his Problems’ in Selected Essays (Faber, 1951).
Britzolakis, Christina. 'Varieties: T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy and Cosmopolitan Performance', Op Cit 2015, online
Crawford, Robert. The Savage and the City in the Works of T.S. Eliot (Clarendon Press, 1987)
Butler, Christopher. ‘The modernist self’ and ‘The city’ in Early Modernism
Calder, Angus. T.S. Eliot: New Readings
Levenson, Michael. ‘The Waste Land’ in A Genealogy of Modernism
Calder, Angus. T.S. Eliot: New Readings
North, Michael. ‘Does the Waste Land Have a Politics?’, Modernism/Modernity
Southam, B.C. A Students’ Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot (1968)
Wks 6-7: Joyce
Set Text : Ulysses (1922). Penguin edition.
Primary Reading: For the seminar(s) on Ulysses, although our general discussion will refer to the whole novel, I would like to highlight Chapters 1 (1-28); chapters 4-8 pp.65-234); chapter 10 (280-328); Chapter 15, 561-703. ch 18 (pp871-933) for preparation. Please ensure that you acquire the Penguin edition.
Seminar 1: Chapters 1, 4-8.
Seminar 2: Chapters 10, 15, 18
Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated, 2nd ed. (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988)
Johnson, Jeri (ed) Ulysses
Kiberd, Declan. Ulysses: Annotated Students’ Edition
Major Critical Views:
Although they have long been superseded by many other works, three early studies are key basic reading:
Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (OUP, 1989; 1st ed 1934)
Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce’s Ulysses (NY: Vintage, 1958; 1st ed, 1930).
Wilson, Edmund. Axel’s Castle: A study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930
Attridge, Derek (ed) The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce
Attridge, Derek. James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Casebook
Goldberg, S.L. The Classical Temper
Hugh Kenner, Ulysses (Lond: Allen & Unwin, 1980, rev edn. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987)
Vincent Sherry, James Joyce: Ulysses (Landmarks of World Literature)
Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (OUP, 1983; 1st edn, 1959)
Other critical studies:
Jameson, Fredric. 'Ulysses in History" in W.J. McCormack and Alistair Stead (eds.), James Joyce and Modern Literature (RKP, 1982),126-41
Mahaffey, Vicki, Reauthorizing Joyce (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)
Moretti, Franco. Modern Epic: The World System from Goethe to Gracia Marquez (Verso, 1996)
Moretti, Franco. Signs Taken for Wonders (London: Verso, 1988). Ch 7.
Studies that focus on urban space:
Duffy, Enda "Disappearing Dublin" in Semicolonial Joyce (CUP, 2000)
Williams, Raymond The Country and the City, Ch 20, 233-47.
Gibbons, Luke. 'Montage, Modernism, the City' in Transformations in Irish Culture (Cork UP, 1996), 165-9
Wk 8: Woolf
Set Text: Mrs Dalloway (1925
Woolf, Virginia. 'Street Haunting: A London Adventure', Complete Shorter Fiction (London: Hogarh P, 1985)
-------------------."The Cinema" in The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays (1950),166-71
Parsons, Deborah. Streetwalking the Metropolis
*Bowlby, Rachel. Virginia Woolf. Feminist Destinations (Edinburgh UP, 1997)
Britzolakis, Christina. ‘Woolf, War and Utopia’ in Benjamin Kohlmann (ed) Modernism and Utopia
Reid, Su (ed), Mrs. Dalloway and to the Lighthouse New Casebooks. (Macmillan, 1993)
Wirth-Nesher, Hana. City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel (Oxford, 1996)
Marcus, Laura. Virginia Woolf
Marcus, Jane. Virginia Woolf and the Language of Patriarchy
Wk 9: Rhys
Good Morning Midnight (1939)
Angier, Carole. Jean Rhys: Life and Work (Virago, 1992)
Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank (London: Virago, 1986)
*Emery, Mary Lou. Jean Rhys at World's End: Novels of Colonial and Sexual Exile Austin; U of
Texas P, 1990.
Gregg, Veronica Marie. Jean Rhys's Historical Imagination: Reading and Writing the Creole (Chapel Hill: U of N. Carolina P, 1995).
*Howells, Coral Ann. Jean Rhys (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991).
Bowlby, Rachel. "The Impasse" in Still Crazy after All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1992)
Streip, Katherine. "Just a Cerebrale: Jean Rhys, Women's Humor and Ressentiment", Representations 45 (1994), 117-44
Parsons, Deborah. Streetwalking the Metropolis, 132-48
*Carr, Helen. Jean Rhys
*Britzolakis, Christina. ‘This Way to the Exhibition: Genealogies of Urban Spectacle in jean Rhys’s Fiction’, Textual Practice (1997)
Ramchand, Kenneth. 'Terrified Consciousness.' The West Indian Novel and its Background (London: Faber and Faber, 1970), pp.223-227.
Wk 10: Ivan Vladislavic, Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (2006)
Mbembe, Achille and Sarah Nuttall (eds). Johannesburg: The Elusive City (Wits Univ. Press).