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Modernism and Modernity

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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? Introduction: The Post-Enlightenment

? Theorising Modernism, Modernity: Inventions of the Avant-Garde

? From Mallarmé to Apollinaire: Materialist Poetics and its implications

? From Cézanne to Cubism, Constructivism: Materialist Poetics II

? From Dada to Surrealism: Materialist Poetics III

? Anti-Mimeticism: Stein, Xlebnikov, Joyce, Beckett, Duchamp

? Joyce's Techno-Poetics: Ulysses and Finnegans Wake

? The Cybernetic Revolution: Textual Machines, from Freud to Bateson

? Chance, Repetition, Difference: John Cage

? Neo-Dada, Pop-Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art: Materialist Poetics IV

? Pound, Olson, Prynne and the inventions of Language PoetrY

? The poetics of information: Robbe-Grillet, Sollers, Perec

? Hypertext and Hypermedia: Materialist Poetics V

? Concluding Remarks



The purpose of this seminar is to trace the development of Modernism and concepts of modernity across a number of fields of cultural production, from the end of the 19th-century to the present. Methodologically, the course will seek to apply recent scientific and artistic insights as the basis for an exploration of modernity, and modernist poetics in particular, as affecting a mode of the ?contemporary.? The content and organisation of the seminar is not designed to be exhaustive in this regard, but rather to provide a constellation of reference points around which students may be able to structure their own original research. Students are expected to demonstrate a significant amount of personal initiative in familiarising themselves with the various historical developments constituting the ?modernist? era, particularly in regards to the evolution of the Anglo-

European avant-gardes and discourses of ?post-modernism.? In particular, students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the major trends in the history of 20th-century art (for example, Robert Hughes?s The Shock of the New). Among the concerns of this course is to provide a countermeasure to the fashion of ?Deleuzianism? spreading among a large number of secondary critics in the academy in particular to the version of intellectual modernity propagated by Deleuze & Guattari in their casual plagiarism of the work of Marshall McLuhan, Viktor Tausk, Guy Debord, Georges Bataille, Jaques Lacan and

Gregory Bateson (aka 1000 Plateaux).


Two essays, of 2,500 words each. Essays must be typed, double-spaced, on one side of regular A4 paper, with a minimum 3cm left-hand margin. Essays must include full bibliographical references (footnotes) for all works cited or paraphrased

(preferably in accordance with the MLA style, eg. Emphasis will be placed on the component of original research, and students are advised not to use Web sources in place of adequately researching texts available in print. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a fail grade. Deadlines for submission of essays are April 4 and May 23. Extensions will only be granted on the basis of prior consultation or written request accompanied by a doctor?s certificate. NB Essay topics will be determined in consultation with the lecturer. Attendance in this course is compulsory

(students are allowed a maximum of 3 absences, inclusive of intellectual absence). An examination will take place on May 30 (a second date may be advertised as required).