EN841: Modernism and the Avant-garde
Convenor: Professor David Ayers
30 credits, 15 ECTS credits
In this module we study key texts of modernism and the avant-garde, mainly in English and occasionally in English translation. The main period covered includes the decades from 1910-1930, the key years of Anglo-American high modernism and of the historical avant-garde, but we will also study some material from later decades. The materials covered include poetry, fiction, manifestos, journals and other occasional publications of the avant-garde, as well as theory of the avant-garde. The module is designed to highlight new and developing strands in research. There is an emphasis on transnationalism as a theme and an archival element dealing with journals and fugitive publications as objects of study. Alongside central figures of high modernism such as Pound and Lewis, we will study a selection of European avant-garde movements such as Surrealism and Dada, and look at the legacy of the modernist and avant-garde movements in more recent or contemporary figures. The main focus is literary, but we will make reference to visual arts in particular and other areas of the arts where necessary, and as well as reading the avant-garde we will consider how the works of modernists and avant-gardists have been presented to the public as classics, as museum artefacts, and as heritage. The module will introduce students to the most current research from Europe and North America.