English 248: Modernism and Material Form: Experiments in Print Culture

Course Description: 

In this course, we will judge books by their covers.  Studying literary modernism through its original sites of publication and circulation, we will consider the dynamic relations between meaning and physical form, and between authors, publishers, and readers.  How and why did modernists experiment with the formats of books, magazines, and volumes—not only through their modes of writing, but also with innovative cover designs, frontispieces, illustrations, page layouts, prefaces, and notes?  How do these choices shape readerly expectations and enhance our interpretation of these texts? How did institutions like publishing houses, little magazines, and literary communities shape modernism as an aesthetic movement?  We will read texts by Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Jean Toomer, T.S. Eliot, Henry James, H.D., Gwendolyn Brooks, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Bishop, and work extensively with archival materials.

English 248 Syllabus Spring 2012

Images for English 248


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