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Lecture 14

Lecture 14- Modernism from the Margins Continued.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

Lecture 14: Modernism from the Margins Continued Edna St. Vincent Millay • uses Petrarchan sonnet ◦ 14 lines ◦ group of 8 lines, then groups of six lines ◦ rhymed ◦ ABBA ABBA ◦ objectification of women as untouchable objects of desire ◦ has a volta, or shift, in it • became image/icon of the New Woman in the 20s The Harlem Renaissance • spokesman of racial injustice • democracy/America is an idealized future ◦ something to come ◦ renders it impossible to realize • Questions related to modernism ◦ what is "new"? ◦ what is the value of the new? ◦ who is the audience? ◦ should literature reinforce bourgeois values and language? Or should literature shatter those values? ◦ what is the form of the work? • Questions related to Du Bois and Johnson ◦ how should African Americans be represented in art? ◦ what characteristics should an African American cultural leader have? ◦ who is the audience of the work? Cultural Contexts • "the period when the negro was in vogue" (Langston Hughes) ◦ like a fad, temporary ◦ what happens to the Negro identity when that fad fades? ◦ "vogue" describes relation to white audiences ▪ something outside of you has to make you "in vogue" • The Harlem Renaissance ◦ no one cohesive idea of it ◦ defined by the internal and external conflicts that surround it ◦ by no means limited to Harlem ▪ but the writers spent periods of their lives in Harlem ◦ still difficult to publish full volumes, so using newspapers and magazines • The New Negro Movement • Question: What is implied in each of these names? • The New Negro (1925), Alan Locke ◦ "The New Negro" (1919), A. Phillip Randolph ▪ describes a new generation of African Americans post-WWI who weren't afraid of militant and radical action ◦ critiques the "old negro for: ▪ political conservatism ▪ accomodationist politics ▪ opposition to organized labour ▪ dependence on white benefactors who disdain the working class ◦ need something old for something new • appeals to European culture by using the word "Renaissance" ◦ Negro identity is not something new, but something that is reborn/returning • jobs opened for African Americans in the North when white men left for WWI • "We are bound by all sorts of customs that can come down as second-hand soul clothes of white patrons. We are ashamed of sex and we lower our eyes when people talk of it. Our religion holds us in superstitio
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