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ENGL 200- The Modern Era lecture notes.docx

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ENGL 200
Gwynn Dujardin

The Twentieth Century and Beyond The 20th Century: Modernism Transatlantic: French, British, American • traceable to Romantic belief in value of the individual (spirit) • continuation of (Victorian) 19th century social critique related to o consequences of urbanization and industrialization o crises in religious faith o rejection of Enlightenment belief in science, reason o condition of alienation: society and self • catalyzed by World war (s), especially WW! Revolution in form • rejection of realism as untrue, incapable of representing "reality" • rejection of unified form(s) Breakdown of form --> fragmentation of society and individual consciousness Victorian --> Modernist • bleak outlook of human relationships • adds to an understanding of self as the self is alienated from one another and divided within oneself Mar 14, 2014 TS Eliot 1888 - 1965 The Expatriates - Americans that naturalized themselves in Europe • Hemingway, Williams The Rise of Modernism and Secularism • there's a desire and need to believe in something other than yourself • especially during the world wars, loss of faith in religion, growing disbelief in God • "the human soul can be understood through the failure of religion" Eliot converted to Anglicanism • negotiates religious ideas and secular anxieties Possible belief in a higher power? Possibility of abandonment from a God in the 20th century? TS Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" • mages: knowledgeable people, the 3 wise men that travelled to Bethlehem to worship the birth of Jesus • Matthew 2 - the only mention in the gospels where the wise men are mentioned • symbol of hope - as they defy the king of Herod, the magi believe in the child and are lead by God , new birth, new hope • tone: sombre, tough journey, possible desire to be really joyous but had to leave own country and face difficulties on the way to get the Bethlehem , sense of uncertainty so having to put faith in God • written in the past tense, being nostalgic about it • --> written as a lament • Dramatic monologue -- 1st person speaker • written in free verse • repetition in form of anaphora - "and" appears 21 times in the poem o signifies want/lack -- discomfort, hostility, alienation punctuated by a perpetual lack o unfulfilled spiritual / physical /emotional desire o struggles of the body, mind, soul o "and" s make the poem feel like it's stretched on longer than it is, puts the reader on this hard journey as well o 2nd last line- a possible positive use of "and" • enjambments used -- sense of uncertainty • sacred vs the secular o in the bible- only the sacred is included o in this poem, mostly the secular details are included  birth leads to death --> and another death o birth appears 4 times, death appears 5 times (unbalanced binary) o variances in capitalization have more deliberate meaning -- symbolic meaning and significance (now that standardized English has been established)  capital "Birth" "Death" are referring to eternal/spiritual death  normal ones are the corporeal birth and death  last "death" -- the release from torment of earthly life into eternal life  --> this last death- contains another rebirth into eternal life Modernist poetry -- hugely inter-textual Virgil's rebellion = he's not a Christian Mar 19, 2014 Key terms: pathos, pathetic fallacy, free verse, allusion, intertextuality, alienation Transatlantic/Romantic (18th century) • INDIVIDUAL AT THE CENTER OF AN IDEA • vs. different estates (grouping) is at the center • needs and interests of the individual are of importance to the government • ie. Robinson Crusoe singled out textually but also representative of the turn that the interest of the society is to seek out individual needs Development of prose fiction • 1st person account in RC • represents self-interest-- writing about himself and things that happen in his life • empiricism: the self is constituted from all experiences o rise of REALISM - describing things that are observed as they are in real life • the Victorian novel o singled out protagonist Margaret o reader perceives society through her perception which changes over time o free indirect discourse: 3rd person narration, different perspectives of characters are depicted o now we can understand society by understanding representative self views/perspectives of different characters o Margaret Hale represents the role model that inspires individuals to act and affect society Loss of religious faith and faith in what a literary text can do to bring about social change Victorian poetry and the Victorian Novel = modernist outlook Tennyson "Lady of Shalott" - Medieval revival As I lay dying - family moving from one place to another Sonnet 28- recreate the sensory and psychological experience of receiving a love letter using literary technique to recreate the experience and feelings --> "PSYCHOLOGICAL REALISM" "Dover Beach"- Matthew Arnold (victorian poetry) • everything seems fine, feels calm, calm tone • speaker perceives a positive tone - speaker recognizes it isn't as calm as he thought • pace/meter like rolling waves • waves also bringing in sadness, and churning up negativity • what he first perceived in a positive way- now "mellow melancholy" • recognition that human misery has been in existence since ancient times • nonetheless "all love let us be true to one another" • the ways of what we see isn't necessarily accurate in depicting reality but we can stay together • use of punctuation. full stop, pause, a moment of pause o last stanza ! excited state o enjambment --> disconnection • ENDING: focus back to external forces --"darkness surrounding the diamond" o "dragging back" motion of waves hitting and then pulling back out • FORM o rhyming scheme o line length variation --> parallel to the "waves" coming in and out Victorian poetry- continuity and change • isolation, disconnection, impotence (helplessness) o aka MODERNISM  it is only when you believe in the needs/rights of the individual that you come to see the despair of the modern condition as it fails the individual --> isolated, disconnected, failed by society  alienation: condition of the working core in factories • before in agrarian culture, worked to sustain self • now are estranged from self - own work/earnings barely sustains self • estranged from each other - disconnection of human consciousness itself • can't be unified anymore • we are fragmented, in pieces --> ie. As I Lay Dying o a breakdown in form o multiple points of view o not coherent or unified  this realism of disconnect is more realistic than the realism in the Victorian novel  --> representing the fragmentation and alienation of Modernism The natural world is used to represent the individual condition and also characterizes the human condition as a whole • now that industrialization has spread so much that it has blackened the natural world • the lack of colour -- misery of humanity's condition, implicit despair Mar 21, 2014 Key terms: • Occident: countries of the West (Europe, Americas) • atheism, agnosticism, Spiritus Mundi • blank verse, free verse • intertextuality • stream of consciousness Key Threads • individualism and modern society • depiction of modern social conditions o role of (representations of) nature • perspectives on the (historical and literary) past • perspectives on the writing's role in redressing social ills • perspectives on the functions of literary form • the development of prose fiction styles and techniques Caedmon's Hymn modernist poetry opposite ends of the spectrum • Caedmon's hymn- in the process of establishing a Christian religious system of beliefs • modernist poetry- during the time when there is a loss of faith, turn towards atheism The way in which religion is a system of belief that were radically doubted - increasing skepticism rising from the empiricism --> the existence of God is coming into question • Mr. Hale's doubts in serving in the Church prompted everything that happened in North and South • reference to this movement from doubt/skepticism --> radical questioning of religion o ie. in "Dover Beach" • representation of doubt as he acknowledges that the sea of knowledge is drawing back modernism --> move from the skepticism of 19th century to the full blown questioning of God • attempt to have the reader experience de-location and disconnected condition of reality and consciousness that comes from not being able to understand the world around you • reflect that the self is fragmented, disconnected The Twentieth Century: Modernism (ca. 1914 [WWI - ca. 1939 WWI] expresses and represents (through form) disillusionment with modern society, traditional systems of belief that purport to know or explain the world, guide humanity Transatlantic: French, British, American --> Western, Occidental world 1. traceable to Romantic belief in value of the individual (spirit), but believes society has failed the individual a. the individual is not a unified, coherent entity but composed of disparate, often conflicting forces (Cf. Sigmund Freud: ego, superego, id) b. consciousness - the human experience- is fragmented , incoherent 2. continuation of (Victorian) nineteenth century social critique related to consequences of urbanization and industrialization, but rejects Victorian sentimentality that places faith in the efficacy of individuals and the value/prospect of human connection a. (ie. doesn't believe that Margaret Hale can go into the world and make a difference) 3. like Romanticism in defining its own movement against previous perspective/project but doesn't posit fervent, coherent alternative a. rejects Enlightenment belief in science and reason b. the "myth of progress" as technological advances of WWI result in mass deaths, human annihilation Insists on - represents - condition of doubt, disconnection, alienation, isolation as representative of the human condition • rejects literary realism- the empirical presentation of the external world • experiments with form to re-create human experience in the absence of transcendental Truth- religious, scientific, political, etc • --> THERE IS NO TRANSCENDENT TRUTH TO THE PERCEIVED KNOWN, UNDERSTOOD, REPRESENTED • things that were "proven empirically" in the 19th C were being questioned and discredited in the 20th C Ezra Pound "Make it new" not make new modern things, but reinvent form to represent new understanding of reality T.S. Eliot "Poetry must be difficult" not to be elitist but to challenge • make your writing so new and novel, write in a way that has never been written before • --> to represent the alienation/disconnectivity in reality • --> will be more realistic in representing humanity • writing should "wake up" to realize the real state of reality "The Second Coming" and "The Journey of the Magi" • both religious in title and expectation • we associate "the second coming" with the resurrection of Christ, second coming of Christ o spiritual rebirth that will result in the salvation of mankind • Journey of the Magi- birth of Christ --> the journey from Pagan to Christianity • CRITICAL TURNING POINTS IN HUMAN HISTORY o BIRTH OF CRHIST - transition from Pagan --> Christian o SECOND COMING OF CHRIST --> transition to rebirth • presumption of control of the falcon by the falconer o assumed that the falcon will obey the commands of the falconer o but nature is spiralling out of human control o humanity has LOST IT - LOST CONTROL OVER THE WORLD WHERE SOCIAL CHANGE IS SO RAPID SO AN INDIVDUAL CAN'T MAKE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT o the world- nature is not listening o "the center cannot hold" --> captures the spirit of Modernism • Caedmon's Hymn = God's is the creator - building up the language of belief and faith • now that creation "centre" has been dismantled --> NO UNITY IN HUMANITY • "the ceremony of innocence is drowned" -- we cannot be so innocent to know or believe anything in the world o our innocent selves are drowned with the knowledge of the realistic world • "the best lack conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" o the morally best have lost their conviction or don't act on their convictions o while the morally worst are full of passion • Spiritus Mundi -- the spirit of the word o an image that isn't representative of a known system of belief • A shape with lion body and the head of a man, o the natural and the human are conflated o monstrous image o we lost definition from humanity and the natural world • The darkness drops again; but now I know • That twenty centuries of stony sleep o there was darkness --> 20 centuries of Christianity --> now darkness is dropping again by a belief that is not going to come true • Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, • And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, • Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? o instead of Christ being born at this last transition, what beast is going to represent this last transition in history most of all historical textual allusions are from a point of admiration of the past intertextuality - the way modernists use texts in the past not in a way that venerates them like the way humanists, neoclassicists, and romantics looked up to the Classics Paradise Lost - Milton rewriting the story of the fall of mankind and sacrifice of Christ with the purpose of instilling belief in Christianity Modernist "The Journey of the Magi" T.S. Eliot • retelling of the Christian birth of Jesus but with a different purpose of re-selling the story • retell the story so it becomes de-familiarized o in a way that suggests that the Modernist condition of the movement from a world of belief to a world of doubt • bringing the tale down to earth • the greatest story ever told not told in a way that reinforces Christianity • but formally de-familiarizes the reader from the reverence for the birth of Christ • --> a form of irreverance in tone and form • diction and tone not very formal, in an informal register o choice of words , looking back and rambling about the journey about the materialistic things on the journey  regretting the earthly, material things and concerns  a RADICAL DEPARTURE FROM THIS SPIRITUAL STORY  UNDERPINS OUR SPIRITUAL BELIEFS AND BRINGS IT DOWN TO EARTH IN DICTION, CONTENT, TONE o ambiguity of what the expedition is about "this ...." unclear pronoun  the journey to Bethlehem  also doubt in the journey of Christianity  contradictory of the voice of God and angels that guide the magi to Bethlehem  now there are other voices? getting lost? asking for directions? • if the path of Christianity were so clear, they wouldn't be getting lost • commenting on how they don't know where they're going or why they're doing it --> points towards the doubt of the Christian journey o "we have evidence and no doubt" -- language of empiricism • the poem putting us in the same situation o suggesting the ways in which humanity is going through a loss of belief o the former system of belief has been discredited and questioned --> a "death" of the system of belief o with this "death" of belief --> leads to another "death" (spiritual and physical) --> As I Lay Dying • Addie in a state of twilight - in a state of being an not being o questions the state of being • a study of a story and a comment on the nature of storytelling as well as an understanding of being and of the psyche of being and non-being • use the strategies of realism -- narrator with omniscient point of view to portray the distinct states of consciousnesses o suggest the way that consciousness itself is not unified • "as I lay dying" -- a transitory phase of being and non-being o book about being in-transcendent • every character / monologue represents what they hear o every narrator represents what they hear in markedly different terms • blurs the lines between alive and dead o alive when her coffin is being built -- o family members discussing whether J and D should go into town (speaking in different tenses) o speaking in the future tense about a woman who hasn't died yet o shifts in use of tense blur the lines of being and non-being • Addie dying --> comes to have her own narrative • changes in tense - questioning the nature of experience in terms of temporality o remembering things from the past --> basis of conscience which affects decisions in the present Mar 26, 2014 key terms: • intertextuality: allusions to other literary texts that do not assume imitation or veneration • stream of consciousness • subjectivity: condition of being a subject, diversely perceived and defined • theatre of the absurd: Modernist theatre representing the senselessness of reality, lack of coherence, ambiguity The Twentieth Century: Modernism Modernism v. Realism and Epic: how form assumes a perspective on perspective • As I Lay Dying o 59 monologues, 15 points of view vs. individual "account" or omniscient narration, free indirect discourse o represents the social breakdown as well as impossibility that any one perspective or set of beliefs constitutes reality or Truth o defines "epic" perspective of singular protagonist --> dramatic monologue o redefines individualism as condition of isolation, detachment, disconnection o notion of subjectivity o vernacular individualized to suggest ways everyone thinks and speaks in their own language (Romanticism) o opens in media res (in the middle of things) vs. introductory framing of setting, characters confounding the reader conveys more "realistic" depiction of modern experience as persistent disorientation, suggests how we're always "in the middle of things" o unexpected shifts in tense and narration of events in past as though happening in present vs. linear beginning to end narration  disrupts conventional perceptions of linear time, temporality  suggests that if consciousness defines reality, past is preset via memory "the past is never dead. It's not even past"  compare to epic storytelling which is teleological  concept of intertextuality that doesn't privilege the past o conclusion at once diffuses/confounds (Addie's burial?) and punctuates (the new Mrs. Bundren), restarting a new cycle vs. conclusion that marks character development o questions prospect of psychological and social "progress" o epic conclusion/destination vague and uncertain • Beckett's Endgame- "theatre of the absurd" abandons the conventions of theatre to represent the senselessness of human condition o modernist theatre lacks narration o characters do not offer unity of "character" or comfortable perspective on human relationships o in process of moving towards conclusion that isn't conclusive o chess metaphor: are we playing or are we the players? o setting is "grey" o unmoored from time, is time unspecific though Hamm asks for it o relationship to parents is uncertain and unclear o storytelling is random, purpose is unclear o conclusion/destination is vague and uncertain The Totality of As I Lay Dying • "twilight condition" • modernists define themselves by the lack of any system of belief being put in place o there is nothing to put in place because no such understanding can account for or realistically represent the human condition if the human condition is understood as fundamentally isolated and disconnected (lacking any unity) • inserts itself in the EPIC CONVENTION • the composition of the novel: a series of fragmented monologues --> representing each character's point of view at a given moment o the marks between each monologue REMARK THE SOCIAL DISCONNECT BETWEEN CHARACTERS o each character's monologue is fragmented and disconnected o how the self is understood to be incoherent and fragmented o --> represents human consciousness and condition more realistically than the realism of the Victorian era • different from the single personal account of RC • different from the omniscient narrator in North and South • Modernism rejects the idea that there could be any kind of unifying total perspective that represents a stable society o ie. through rejecting the omniscient narrator Inter-textuality • referring back to past literary texts because of the perspective: the past is better • Renaissance : looking back to classical antiquity to honor classical writing (putting it at the top of a literary hierarchy) • Neoclassicism: looking back to the technique/form of classical writing • Romanticism: looking back so the writer can be inspired --> then write to inspire others • Victorian: looking back with a sense of nostalgia for a feudal society kind of order during a time of rapid social change The Development of the novel • empiricism contributing to the account of sensation and realism o puts that perspective on perspective into writing --> aspired to represent the reality of perspective of someone's experience in the real world • the epic tradition puts a singular perspective at the center o the hero on a journey to fulfill a quest, encountering trials and challenges o INDIVIDUALISM AND CULTURE  the conclusion/destination represents a shared value/point of view of the society • As I lay Dying o there's a journey of sorts o no singular shared value/point of view o the social values are unclear o the different narratives show how there is no shared point of view  unlike how Beowulf represents the cultural value of brotherhood  knight representing the value of Christianity during the Protestant Reformation o the digression, divergence still assumes that there's forward movement towards a particular destination --> that movement is on a linear path The development of dramatic monologue • life for society is just a collection of dramatic monologues • not necessarily a connection between separate monologues The notion of SUBJECTIVITY • the experience of being a subject that is nonetheless composed and informed by diversity (different subjective experiences and points of view) • assumes that there is no singular and coherent perspective • subjectivity is fluid and in dynamic change Comment on the vernacular • characters speaking in their own language (American South) • we can see differences between the character's language --> individual dialect • 1st term: prospect that the English vernacular could be considered as a literary language o the Romantic revolution: the common language of men could be and should be considered a literary language • the journey of the magi: the expectations are different by the familiar/colloquial tone of the speaker --> induces in the reader "that's not what I was expecting at all" o vernacular used to make a point o narrator speaking in informal terms feels out of place --> representing DISCONNECTION AND DISILLUSIONMENT, how expectations are failed • vernacular: the language for common men (representing a common society where people could converse with each other and understand each other) o ie . the LYRICAL BALLAD being a common song sung to represent the common sensation/experience of a society • characters not speaking the same language --> representing how they can't really connect with each other on a unifying level of understanding pg 3 - story opens like an EPIC - IN MEDIA RES --> IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS • implied that there's going to be story telling on the way to fill in gaps of time so that by the end everything makes sense • allows the reader to experience DISLOCATION AND DISORIENTATION o WHICH IS REALITY FOR THE HUMAN CONDITION AND EXPERIENCE o novels usually open with material that sets the scene, establishing a kind of context to introduce characters and setting --> but here this is missing to dislocate the reader • shifts of time and narration -- DISLOCATION IN TIME : representing how time itself is being questioned and redefined, time is not linear • the past is present if that is what is forefront in your consciousness o if what you're focused on is in the conventional past --> that is what is your present The conclusion • we expect beginning --> middle --> end • but the notion of the burial, Addie's reunion of her family, restitution of social bonds IS GONE o the reader left wondering ... what happened??? where's the closure? o the novel is punctuated - something happens at the conclusion - Mr. B's REMARRIAGE?!?!  --> WE'RE THRUSTED BACK INTO A WHOLE NEW CYCLE OF EPIC • we're expecting to see character development from the conclusion --> what did different character learn? how did they develop?? ... some kind of social progress ... but our expectations are failed :( • the way that this disconnected literary form makes it challenging for us to understand --> represents the perspective of how challenging it is to derive meaning of things in life • the CENTER which everything/everyone else is connected by: Addie's death and movement to burial • Cash: carpenter, craftsmen - what he crafts is on a slant - everything's at an angle --> nothing is straightforward, the coffin isn't balanced • Darl: visionary - sees things that he can't empirically know (knows that Addie died, ___ is pregnant) o setting the barn on fire representing the senselessness of their journey • Jewel: Addie's son by another father Whitefield o is unlike the others o has a thing about his horse • Vardaman- youngest son o has a thing about the fish • Dewey - is pregnant as her mother dies --> the connection between life and death Motifs • the line betw
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