Department:European Languages and Cultures
Level:Part II (final year)
Course Convenor:Dr G Bartram
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CMod descriptionback to top
312: The Search for Identity in European Modernism (half-unit)
Final Year half-unit option is designed primarily for students on European
Studies and European Languages degree schemes, but is also open to students
from other departments. It focuses on four major texts from the era of
classical European modernism: Andr Gide, Les Caves du Vatican (The Vatican
Cellars) (1914), Luigi Pirandello, Sei personaggi in cerca dautore (Six
Characters in Search of an Author) (1921), Ramn del Valle-Incln, Luces
de Bohemia (Bohemian Lights) (1924), and Hermann Hesse, Der Steppenwolf
(The Steppenwolf) (1927).
aim of the course is to acquaint students with the broad socio-cultural context
of European modernism, including the social and cultural tension between
tradition and modernisation in the pre-1914 era and the destabilising impact of
Nietzschean and psychoanalytical thought. These themes will be introduced at
the outset of the course, following which each text will be read as an attempt
to articulate and grapple with the problems of identity and selfhood generated
by the modernist crisis of values.
in the Department of European Languages and Cultures will be expected to read
(and, where necessary, quote from) texts in the original language(s) of their
particular degree scheme. All four texts will however also be available in
English translation, and lectures and seminars will be conducted in English.
Knowledge of a foreign language is thus not a prerequisite for enrolment on
Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
This Final Year European Studies half-unit option is taught in English with texts available in translation, and welcomes students following English and Creative Writing degree schemes as well as DELC students. It focuses on four major texts from the era of classical European modernism: J.-K Huysmans À Rebours (Against Nature), Luigi Pirandello, Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author), Gabriel Miro, Nuestra Padre San Daniel (Our Father San Daniel), and Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (Metamorphosis).
This course is designed for anyone who wishes to gain an understanding of some of the key themes and issues of European modernism ?
- modernism and religion
- the fragmented individual: the impact of Nietzschean and psychoanalytical thought
- the destabilising of gender
These themes will be introduced at the outset of the course, following which each text will be read as an attempt to articulate and grapple with the problems of identity and selfhood generated by the modernist crisis of values. The four works (3 novels, 1 play) will each be situated in their respective (French/Spanish/Italian/German) socio-historical context, affording opportunities for a comparison of the four national cultures at a particular historical moment, as well as of the two genres as vehicles for the individual and social "search for identity".
Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
By the end of the course, students should
- be able to analyse modernist works from the viewpoint of their social and psychological content
- be able to demonstrate a deepened understanding of the broad socio-cultural context of European modernism, including its divergent national traditions
- be aware of some of the main stylistic features of literary modernism