English 211W, Fall 2014, Emory University
MAKE IT NEW: Modern Art and Literature

Virginia Woolf knitting

Instructor: Amy E. Elkins
T/Th 2:30-3:45 Callaway S101

Office Hours: Th 4:00-5:30PM, and by appointment
Callaway N314

In this course, we will explore the dynamic world of 20th century art and literature, from decadence and abstraction to primitivism and the Harlem Renaissance. Taking our start from Ezra Pound’s dictum—“make it new”—we will learn how early-20th century literature and art challenged artistic convention through radical experimentation. We will read through a range of cultural and aesthetic contexts as we seek to better understand relationships between literature and the other arts (e.g. photography, sculpture, and painting). Texts will include writings by modernist novelists, poets, artists, and critics.

Through intensive writing assignments and active discussions, you will engage in interdisciplinary research on modernist art movements. These discoveries will inform broader considerations of modernist influences on contemporary verbal-visual texts such as artist’s books, digital archives, craftivism, and urban art. Several in-class art workshops will inform our close readings and help to develop better research. Finally, we will conduct research at the High Museum and see the upcoming exhibition, Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection, which opens on Oct. 24, 2014.

Course Objectives
• Apply knowledge of modern art movements and themes to literary texts
• Identify relationships between art objects, texts, and socio-cultural contexts
• Practice literary, art historical, and cultural criticism and research methods
• Demonstrate close reading and analytic skills in an interdisciplinary context through advanced writing
• Learn through hands-on experiences
• Write clear, effective, and persuasive essays on original topics. Incorporate secondary sources to support writing as an academic conversation