AMS 390 • American Cultural History- Oh Wild Liberation! Modernism and America
7:00 PM-10:00 PM
This is a research seminar dealing with the Modernist Movement that blew away Victorian certainties in both America and Europe in the Twentieth Century. Beginning with the discovery of the subconscious and the stream of consciousness as well as cultural relativism, modern life changed forever in one of the major moments in American history. In literature, art, the social sciences, film, transatlantic relations, (Paris is a moveable feast), salon life, bohemianism, as well as blacks, the first half of the Twentieth Century was perhaps Americas most creative period. William James, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Hugo Munsterburg, Frank Lloyd Wright, Vachel Lindsay, the 1913 Armory Show, Mabel Dodge, Max Eastman, Eugene ONeill, Maxwell Bodenheim, Al Capone, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Peggy Guggenheim, Georgia OKeeffe, Alfred Steiglitz, Harriet Monroe, Malcolm Cowley, John Dos Passos, Margaret Anderson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Franz Boaz, Blues, Jazz, Greenwich Village, Pariss Left Bank and the Harlem Renaissance were among the people and places that liberated Americans in the years before the Great Depression. Fortunately the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas is one of the worlds great repositories of books and manuscripts relating to Modernism. This is helpful because the main task of the course is the writing of an original research paper of article length (20 pp.).
Reading for the course will be selective, approximately a book or several copied handout selections per week. Occasionally reports will be given on books that are different from the regular assigned reading or films. (For anyone looking to work with early films, see Kemp R. Niver, Motion Pictures From the Library of Congress Paper Print Collection, 1894-1912, U.C. Press, Berkeley and L.A., 1967).