E 376L • Poets and Punks: English Culture After 1945
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
Only one of the following may be counted: E 324 (Topic: Poets and Punks in British Culture), 376L (Topic 7), 379S (Senior Seminar--Poets and Punks).
This course in postwar English culture will concern the ways in which different types of cultural productions and activities succeed and fail to penetrate the veil of popular myths like "affluence." I want to raise questions about challenging authoritarian ideology in our own period, but my particular aim is to inject volatility into conventional notions of the heirarchy of high and mass culture. The postwar fiction, poetry, drama, and music studied in the course will lead on to an England far removed from traditional "literary landscape": the seaside amusements of Brighton, the sleazy Soho of Absolute Beginners, and the Carnaby Street that embraced Clockwork Orange (quite subversively, given the Tory pedantry at the core of the novel). Above all I want to raise the issue of what a truly radical, avant-garde practice involves, and what forms it might take. The realm of art, I will argue, can indeed be drawn into everyday life with progressive results. The course will be concerned with history, literature, music, criticism, popular culture theory, and sociology--the fields that have made up "cultural studies."
Two 6-8-page essays 90%
Attendance and Participation 10%
Colin MacIness, Absolute Beginners
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Graham Greene, Brighton Rock
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
John Osborne, Look Back in Anger
Edward Bond, Saved
Trevor Griffiths, Oi for England
Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style