Modernism and Avant Garde

Subject 106-227 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 12.5 pts of first year English Literary Studies or Creative Writing

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


John Frow

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the movement in literature and other arts that lasted from roughly 1890 to roughly 1930 and which we know as modernism. It will provide an overview of the social and intellectual context of modernism, and of its relation to other social movements. Rather than trying to survey every major modernist writer, however, it will work with close readings of a small number of key figures: the poets Yeats, Pound and Stevens, the novelist Joyce (on whose Ulysses, one of the central modernist texts, we will spend three weeks), and two figures who work in deliberately indeterminate genres, Breton and Stein. In addition, in the spirit of modernismÂs transcendence of conventional boundaries between art forms, we will spend time looking at Cubism and Surrealism, and at film (the work of Eisenstein and Chaplin); and we will pay close attention to the manifesto, one of the key modernist genres.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will acquire a broad knowledge of the modernist movement across several media, and a more detailed familiarity with a small group of key modernist writers, artists and film-makers;
have an understanding of some of the theoretical underpinnings of the modernist movement and of its relation to broader social developments;
have developed analytic skills in the close reading of difficult texts, and sophisticated explanatory skills to deal with the complexity of the aesthetic and social issues involved in studying this movement.

Written work of 4000 words comprising two essays, the first of 1500 words (40%), due mid-semester, and the second of 2500 words (60%), due at the end of semester. Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials, and will be excluded from the subject and submission of assessment if they fail to meet this minimum without reasonable excuse.

Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Selected Poems (Yeats)
  • Selected Poems (Pound)
  • Selected Poems (Stevens)
  • Ulysses (Joyce)
  • Nadja (Breton)
  • Selected Writings (Stein)
  • Illuminations (Recommended Reading: Benjamin)
  • Modernism: 1890-1930 (Bradbury and McFarlane)
  • Theory of the Avantgarde (Burger)
  • The Modern Tradition (Ellmann and Feidelson, ed)
  • The Pound Era (Kenner)
  • Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents (Kolocotroni et al., ed)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • be able to develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;

  • be able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major

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