Program in Comparative Literature

Alan W Friedman

ProfessorPh.D., 1966, University of Rochester

Professor of English
Alan W Friedman



C L 381 • Backgrounds Of Modernism

33910 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CAL 21
(also listed as E 392M)

Backgrounds of Modernism

Using the new text from Routledge if possible, this course will explore the historical, philosophical, political, and cultural circumstances that produced the literature of "high modernism," primarily British and American. The background readings and consideration of historical events and, to a lesser extent, modernist movements in other art forms will help to contextualize and focus our consideration of modernist literary texts.  One of the course's organizational principle will be a set of central concepts: the decline of the West; the disappearance/death of God; the reconceptualization of such notions as time and the self; the impact of technology and urbanization; the quest among so-called "primitive" societies for vitality and values; the use of myth as a structuring principle; aestheticism; epistemological incertitude; the crisis of language; and the reaction against traditional realism and humanistic representation in the interests of a deeper and more complex understanding and expression of "reality."


News of Ulysses. Texas Studies in Language and Literature (with Charles Rossman, forthcoming 2010).

De-familiarizing Readings: Essays from the Austin Joyce Conference. European Joyce Studies 18.  Editions Rodopi: Amsterdam and New York, 2009 (with Charles Rossman).

Samuel Beckett in Austin and Beyond.  Texas Studies in Language and Literature 51.1 March 2009 (with Charles Rossman).

“Samuel Beckett Meets Buster Keaton: Godeau, Film, and New York.” Texas Studies in Language and Literature 51.1 (March 2009): 41-46.

Biographical Joyce James Joyce Quarterly 45.3-4 Spring/Summer 2008 (with Charles Rossman).

Party Pieces: Oral Storytelling and Social Performance in Joyce and Beckett. Syracuse UP, 2007.

''Death and Beyond in J.B. Priestley's Johnson over Jordan.'' New Theatre Quarterly 22.1 (February 2006): 76-90.

''Beckett's Musicals.'' Etudes Anglaises (special issue on Samuel Beckett). Ed. Carle Bonafous-Murat and Ciaran Ross. 69.1 (Jan.-March 2006: 47-59). Departmental nominee for UT's Best Research Paper Award, 2006.

''Graham Greene: Letter Writer.'' Writing Among the Ruins: Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh. Exhibition curators: John O. Kirkpatrick and W. Richard Oram. Austin: Harry Ransom Center, 2004. 17 -20.

Beckett in Black and Red: Samuel Beckett's Translations for Nancy Cunard's Negro. Louisville, University of Kentucky Press, 2000.

Fictional Death and The Modernist Enterprise. Cambridge University Press, 1995. Paperback reprint, 2008.

Awards & Honors

Awards & Honors

  • English Department Faculty Service Award, 2008.
  • “Beckett’s Musicals,” nominated by English Department for Best Essay of the Year award, 2005-6.
  • Humanities Institute Faculty Fellow, UT, Fall 2003
  • Thomas Mabry Cranfill Teaching Fellowship in support of Actors from the London Stage, 2004-
  • Web site, Center for Shakespeare Studies, Honorable Mention, Digital Education Achievement Awards, Student-Focused Applications, 2004
  • Chad Oliver Teaching Award, Plan II, 2003
  • Outstanding UT Professor Award, Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma, honors societies, 2003
  • Parlin Fellow, Plan II