E 379S • Senior Seminar--The Great War and Modern British Literature
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
E 379M (Topic: British Literature of the Great War-England) may not also be counted.
In England the Great War (1914-1918) is far more important in British consciousness than World War II. On one day alone, July 1, 1916, England suffered 60,000 casualties in attacks along the Somme, and the psychological damage--to British confidence, to the idea of Empire--was incalculable. Certainly the impact on novelists and poets was profound as well. To this end we will study some of the major texts arising from the war and its aftermath. We will read the most famous memoir of the war, Robert Graves's Good-Bye To All That, as well as the poetry of Siegfrieg Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and other war poets, several of whom perished on the Western Front. We will also read Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway as a non-combatant post-war response. Finally, in the past fifteen years there has been a belated response to the Great War by novelists such as Pat Barker and Sebastian Faulks. We will read Barker's Regeneration and Faulks's Birdsong. There will also be a packet of readings relating to the War.
Requirements include three papers totaling 16 pages. The first will be a critical essay of 6 pages, the second an historical essay of 4 pages, the third a combination of criticism and history of 6 pages, equaling a total of 16 pages. This writing constitutes 90% of the grade; the other 10% is based on class participation.