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ENGL 9906 PhD Seminar: Aesthetics of Modernism (Spring: 3 )


Course Description

Modernism demands a rethinking of aesthetics, relativizing or rendering obsolete aesthetics’ fundamental categories—the classical notion of beauty, for example, or the romantic notion of genius. Through its experiments with spatial and temporal representation, moreover, modernism can be said to interrogate or to undermine another sense of the aesthetic: the aesthetic as the discourse on sensible cognition. How, then, does modernism fit into the history of aesthetics? Are modernism’s own aesthetic categories—novelty, difficulty, impersonality—still a part of this history? In this class, we will put literary and visual modernism in contact with issues in philosophical aesthetics. We will understand modernism’s “aesthetics” broadly: as the theoretical discourse on art occasioned by modernist art objects; as the practice of art and literary criticism specific to the modernist period; and as a reimagining of the forms of sensible experience in modernist works themselves.


Instructor(s): Robert Lehman

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

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Last Updated: 08-Jan-16