Home | Literary Movements  | Timeline  |  American Authors | American Literature Sites | Bibliographies | Site Updates

English 573, Seminar in Prose Fiction
Dislocations: Technology, Cosmopolitanism, Race, and Modernity in the American Novel, 1900-1930s
Fall 2010

T 2:50-5:30 p.m., Avery 110

Donna Campbell
Avery 357; 335-4831; campbelld@wsu.edu
Office Hours: T 1-2:30 and by appointment
Google chat and IM: drcampbell6676


Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio. Norton, 1995. 0393967956
Dos Passos, John. Manhattan Transfer. Mariner Books, 2003. 0618381864
Du Bois, W. E. B. The Dark Princess. U Mississippi P, 1995. 087805765X
Faulkner, William The Sound and the Fury. Norton, 2003. 0393964817
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender is the Night. Scribner, 1995. 068480154X
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. Scribner, 1995. 0684800713
Larsen, Nella. Quicksand/Passing. Rutgers, 1986. 0813511704
London, Jack. The Valley of the Moon. U California P,1999. 0520218205
Loos, Anita. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. Penguin, 1998. 0141180692
McKay, Claude. Home to Harlem. University Press of New England, 1987. 1555530249
Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives and Q.E.D. Norton, 2006. 0393979032
Toomer, Jean. Cane. Norton, 1993. 0393956008
Wharton, Edith. Twilight Sleep. Scribner, 1997. 0-684-83964-4

Course Description

This course focuses on the intersection of concepts technology, modernity, race, and cosmopolitanism in American fiction of the early twentieth century. It does not focus exclusively on the traditional figures of modernism (Stein, Pound, Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, and so on), although it touches on some of their concerns; rather, it explores what might be called alternative visions of modernism, those that engage ideas of progress, race, technology, and space but not necessarily aesthetic experimentation in their quest to define "the new." We will examine representations of urban landscapes and the communities that comprise them, and the topics we'll consider include cityscapes and visions of cosmopolitanism; expatriate life, displacement, and diaspora; aesthetic and political bohemianism; racial passing and gay identities; and technologies of time and efficiency, of work, of beauty, of reproduction, and of movement.

To consider the beginnings of modernism, we'll discuss concepts of modernity in a Progressive Era novel of reform, Jack London's The Valley of the Moon, a work that engage issues of industrialism, class, ecology, and technology. Recent critics on modernism have called into question the limited nature of class- and race-based definitions of the period, perspectives that will inform our discussion of modernist form in Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio and Stein's Three Lives. Harlem Renaissance works such as Jean Toomer's Cane, Nella Larsen's Quicksand and Passing, Richard Bruce Nugent's "Smoke, Lilies, and Jade," and Claude McKay's Home to Harlem provide racial, transnational, and queer critiques of modern life as several posit an escape into primitivism or gender and racial passing. These works are placed in dialogue with three novels by "classic" modernists--Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises--in which discourses of whiteness and masculinity are challenged by dislocations in place: the lost South for Faulkner, and the expatriate Paris of the 1920s for Hemingway and Fitzdgerald, all sites of an attempt to recuperate a nostalgically conceived past. Also addressing issues of transnationalism and dislocation, Du Bois's The Dark Princess projects the possibility of a global black cosmopolitanism. In contrast to the formal realism of The Dark Princess, Dos Passos's Manhattan Transfer is cosmopolitan in subject matter but classically modernist in form. The course also considers satiric views of modernity including Edith Wharton's Twilight Sleep and Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Secondary readings for this course include current critical articles on the novels and theoretical essays by Bourdieu, Horkheimer and Adorno, Benjamin, North, de Certeau, Huyssen, Scholes, Doane, and Bhabha, among others. The readings are here: http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/engl573/modernism/index.html.

    Written Assignments
8/24 Introduction
8/31 Fictions of Modernity
London,The Valley of the Moon
9/7 The Short Story Cycle
Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

Experimental Fictions
Toomer, Cane (1923)

Proposal for Paper 1

Stein, Three Lives

9/28 Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926)

Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

10/12 Larsen, Quicksand/Passing (1928 and 1929) Paper 1 due

"Black Dandies" and Queer Consciousness in the Harlem Renaissance
McKay, Home to Harlem (1928)
Nugent, “Smoke, Lilies & Jade”


Transnational and Pan-African Identities
DuBois, The Dark Princess (1928)

Proposal workshop: bring ideas for your second paper. We'll review some proposal guidelines in class.
11/2 Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (1925)
Proposal for Paper 2 due by email

Satirizing Modernism
Wharton, Twilight Sleep (1927); Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

11/16 Cosmopolitanism and Spectatorship
Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night (1934)
11/23 No class: Thanksgiving break  

Workshop: Discussing Journal Submissions

Conference version of Paper 2 due to respondent by 9 p.m. on 12/2/10

Paper 2 due

12/7 In-class conference  

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation. Attendance and good class participation are essential.

Papers and Presentations.

Proposals and Responses. Since one of your professional responsibilities as scholars will be to submit proposals to conference, you’ll prepare a 100-200 word proposal for each of the papers you will write in this class. These will receive comments but not grades. You’ll also prepare a response to a classmate’s paper during the last two weeks of class, which you will then deliver as part of the conference-style presentations at the end of the course.

Late Papers and Extensions. Late papers are penalized at the rate of one letter grade (10 points) per class day late; a paper that would have received a "B" on the due date will receive a "C" if handed in on the next class day. Papers turned in after 4 class meetings will receive a 50/100 toward your class grade.

You have one automatic extension in this class, which means that your paper will be due on the next class day (in our case,a week).You must request the extension ahead of time, and you should save it for a true emergency, since no other extensions will be granted for illness, funerals, weddings, or any other reason.

Presentations and Article Critiques

Article Critiques. In addition to reading primary texts, we'll be reading some classic but mostly current criticism on the works so that you'll have a good sense of what approaches are being published now. We'll read all the articles, of course, but each week three or four people will be responsible for preparing a brief summary (5 minutes) and critique (no more than the front of 1 page) of one article each. You'll bring copies for your classmates (we have 10 people in the class) so that they'll have a record.

These need not be terribly formal; their purpose is to allow the "article expert" to raise questions and discussion points about his or her article rather than do a formal presentation of it. You'll all take turns being an "article expert," but you won't need to do this every week; you'll be the "article expert" about four times during the course of the semester.

Here's what should be included.

1. Brief summary of the article (can be in point form).

2. Your thoughts on the article. What was its main contribution to understanding the work? Did it relate to other work in the field (If you know this)? Did it have any weaknesses?

3. At least one question either that you had about the the article or that the article inspired you to put to the class.

Remember these should be brief: No more than 5 minutes, and no more than the front of a page.

Presentations. Each member of the class will give a 30-minute presentation at one point during the semester. This might take any one of several forms: preparing information about the author or authors assigned for that day and presenting a set of new ideas or questions for the class to consider; giving a new interpretation of the work; providing a contextual overview of an author or work; or analyzing and critiquing current critical perspectives. You will need to provide a brief handout for the class, preferably one that includes the following:

In-Class Conference. During the last week of class, you'll present a conference-length version of your second paper to the rest of the class. The presentations at the end of the course will be based on the longer paper, which you’ll need to edit down to conference length.

Plagiarism Policy. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else's words or ideas. This definition includes not only deliberately handing in someone else's work as your own but failing to cite your sources, including Web pages and Internet sources. Penalties for plagiarism range from an F on the paper to failing the course. If you turn in a plagiarized paper, at a minimum you will receive a grade of F (0 points). You will not be allowed to rewrite the paper, and the incident must be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.

WSU Statement on Academic Integrity. As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty.

WSU Statement on Disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC). All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Washington Building, Room 217). Please stop by or call 509-335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist.

Approximate weights for grades:
Paper 1, 20%
Presentations, 20%
Paper 2, 40%;
Attendance and Participation (including proposals, "article expert" commentary, and short written responses to papers), 20%  

    "Article Expert" Presentation
8/24 Introduction
8/31 London
    Reesman, Jeanne Campbell. "Jack London's New Woman in a New World: Saxon Brown Roberts' Journey into the Valley of the Moon." American Literary Realism 24.2 (1992): 40-54. Print. Rpt. in Critical Perspectives on Jack London, ed. Susan Nuernberg.    
    Gair, Christopher Hugh. "'The Way Our People Came': Citizenship, Capitalism, and Racial Difference in 'the Valley of the Moon'." Rereading Jack London. Eds Leonard Cassuto, Jeanne Campbell Reesman and Earle Labor. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1996. Print.  
9/7 The Short Story Cycle: Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Rigsbee, 178-88    
    Updike, 189-193  
    Stouck, 211-228  
9/14 Experimental Fictions: Toomer, Cane (1923) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Edmunds, Susan. "The Race Question and the 'Question of the Home': Revisiting the Lynching Plot in Jean Toomer's Cane." American Literature 75.1 (2003): 141-68.    
    Blake, 217-223  
    Reilly, 196-207  
    Whalan, Mark. "Jean Toomer, Technology, and Race." Journal of American Studies 36.3 (2002): 459-72.  
9/21 Stein, Three Lives xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    English, 514-531    
    Ruddick, 368-402  
    Saldivar-Hull, 358-367  
    Peterson, 465-485  
9/28 Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Bourdieu, Pierre. "The Field of Cultural Production. In The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.  
    Tomkins, David. "The 'Lost Generation' and the Generation of Loss: Ernest Hemingway's Materiality of Absence and The Sun Also Rises." MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 54.4 (2008): 744-65. Project Muse.
10/5 Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Matthews, 370-393    
    Bleikasten, 412-430  
    Gwin, 405-412  
    Kartgener, 328-343  
10/12 Larsen, Quicksand/Passing (1928 and 1929) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Paper 1 due)
    Sherrard-Johnson, Cherene. "A Plea for Color': Nella Larsen's Iconography of the Mulatta" American Literature: 76:4 (2004 Dec): 833-69.    
    Doane, Mary Ann. "Technology's Body: Cinematic Vision in Modernity." A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema. Eds. Bean, Jennifer M. and Diane Negra. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2002.
    Doyle, Laura. From Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640-1940. (notes)  
    Bromell, Nick. "Reading Democratically: Pedagogies of Difference and Practices of Listening in The House of Mirth and Passing." American Literature 81.2 (2009): 281-303.  
10/19 "Black Dandies" and Queer Consciousness in the Harlem Renaissance: McKay, Home to Harlem (1928);
Nugent, “Smoke, Lilies & Jade”
    Rottenberg, Catherine. "Writing from the Margins of the Margins: Michael Gold's Jews without Money and Claude McKay's Home to Harlem." MELUS 35.1 (2010): 119-40. Also in Project Muse.
    Maiwald, Michael. Race, Capitalism, and the Third-Sex Ideal: Claude McKay's Home to Harlem and the Legacy of Edward Carpenter." MFS: Modern Fiction Studies, 48:4 (2002 Winter), pp. 825-57.  
    Glick, Elisa F. "Harlem's Queer Dandy: African-American Modernism and the Artifice of Blackness." MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 49.3 (2003): 414-42. In Project Muse.  
10/26 Transnational and Pan-African Identities: DuBois, The Dark Princess (1928) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Bhabha, Homi K. "The Black Savant and the Dark Princess." ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 50:1-3 [194-96] (2004): 137-55.    
    Mullen, Bill V. "Du Bois, Dark Princess, and the Afro-Asian International." Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, 11.1 (2003 Spring): 217-39.  
    Ahmad, Dohra. " More Than Romance': Genre and Geography in Dark Princess." ELH 69:3 (2002 Fall): 775-803.  
11/2 Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (1925) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception." In Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Trans. Gunzelin Schmid Noerr. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2002.    
    de Certeau, Michel. "Spatial Practices: Walking in the City and Railroad Incarceration" from The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.  
    Huyssen, Andreas. "Mass Culture as Woman." After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.
    Scholes, Robert. "High and Low in Modernist Criticism." In Paradoxy of Modernism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.    
11/9 Satirizing Modernism: Wharton, Twilight Sleep (1927); Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
    Frost, Laura. "Blondes Have More Fun: Anita Loos and the Language of Silent Cinema." Modernism/modernity 17.2 (2010): 291-311 (Project Muse)    

Griffith, Jean C. "'Lita Is-Jazz': The Harlem Renaissance, Cabaret Culture, and Racial Amalgamation in Edith Wharton's Twilight Sleep." Studies in the Novel 38.1 (2006): 74-94. Ebsco.


Hefner, Brooks E. "'Any Chance to Be Unrefined': Film Narrative Modes in Anita Loos's Fiction." PMLA:125.1 (2010): 107-20, 264. Print.

11/16 Cosmopolitanism and Spectatorship: Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night (1934)    
11/23 No class: Thanksgiving break xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
11/30 Workshop: Discussing Journal Submissions
12/7 In-class conference