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Einrichtungen >> Fakultät Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften >> Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik >> Lehrstuhl für Britische Kultur >>

  Making the Broken Whole? Re-reading Modernist Poetry in a Broken Age

Dr. Robert Craig

Rein Online
2 SWS, Vertiefungsmodul. An-/Abmeldung über FlexNow: 20.07.2020 (10:00 Uhr) bis 06.11.2020 (23:59 Uhr); An-/Abmeldung zur Prüfung über FlexNow: 14.12.2020 (08:00 Uhr) bis 29.01.2021 (23:59 Uhr).
Zeit: Di 16:15 - 17:45

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches
Teilnahmevoraussetzungen/Conditions of participation

B.A. Anglistik/Amerikanistik: Abgeschlossenes Aufbaumodul Britische und Amerikanische Kulturwissenschaft

Modulzugehörigkeit/Module applicability

B.A. Anglistik/Amerikanistik: Vertiefungsmodul Kulturwissenschaft: Seminar (8 ECTS), Zugangsvoraussetzung: Aufbaumodul Kulturwissenschaft
B.A. Anglistik/Amerikanistik (bis einschließl. Studienbeginn zum WS 2008/09): freie Erweiterung: Seminar (6 ECTS)
M.A. English and American Studies: Master Module English and American Culture: Seminar (8 ECTS)
Profile Module English and American Culture I-VI: Seminar (8, 6, 5 or 4 ECTS)
Consolidation Module English and American Culture I-IV: Seminar (8, 6, 5 or 4 ECTS)
Erweiterungsbereich Anglistik/Amerikanistik im Rahmen anderer M.A.: Exportmodul Anglistik/Amerikanistik 1 oder 2: Mastermodul Kulturwissenschaft (Variante I): Seminar (8 ECTS)
Exportmodul Anglistik/Amerikanistik 2: Mastermodul Kulturwissenschaft (Variante II): Seminar (6 ECTS)
M.A. Literatur und Medien: Literatur-, Medien- und Kulturtheorie, Erweiterung Literatur-, Medien- und Kulturtheorie
LA (alt) alle, Diplom, Magister: Hauptseminar Kulturwissenschaft, Zugangsvoraussetzung: Zwischenprüfung oder Hauptseminaraufnahmeprüfung
Joint Degree: Compulsory Subjects and Restricted Electives: Mastermodul Cultural Studies
Restricted Electives: Profilmodul Cultural Studies

Further information on the term paper can be obtained from this address: http://www.uni-bamberg.de/britcult/leistungen/studium/.

‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins.’ T. S. Eliot’s masterpiece The Waste Land (1922) reaches its strange end with a salvo of quotations drawn from across European literary and folk traditions, before trailing off in a blaze of Sanskrit. Eliot’s admission here is symbolic not just of the poem itself, but a whole literary and cultural epoch: the modern world seems completely broken, caught as it is between a yearning for order and peace (in every sense), and the chaotic flux of human desire in all its forms. The spiritual congruities and continuities of old were vanishing, and modernist writers and poets were preoccupied with recovering a lost sense of wholeness. Whether through the holistic traditions of the past, or the utopian (or reactionary) visions of the present, European modernism was both keyed to the idea of redeeming modern life from itself, and painfully aware of its impossibility. Could the broken ever be made whole again?

This will be our primary question as we read a selection of works by three of the greatest European poets and writers of the early twentieth century: the Anglo-Irish W. B. Yeats (1865-1939), the Bohemian-Austrian Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), and Eliot (1888-1965), a naturalized British citizen of American origin. All three developed deeply ambivalent attitudes towards modernity. Beginning with an overview of modernist poetics, we shall first turn our attention to a selection of Yeats’s later work. Critic Daniel Albright has described him as ‘the ghost that haunted Modernism’: while immersed in Irish spiritualist and folkloric traditions, and identifying with British Romanticism, he came to absorb and adopt the modernist forms he had tried so hard to reject. We will then read either a selection of Rilke's Neue Gedichte (1907-8), or his pathbreaking experimental city novel, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge (1910). We'll then bring Rilke's sense of fragmentation into dialogue with the redemptive possibilities explored in his famous Duineser Elegien (1923). Finally, we’ll turn to Eliot, a poet with whom he is often compared. If The Waste Land lays bare the spiritual desolations of modern life, his Four Quartets (1943) find fresh consolation and meaning beyond the bounds of human time itself. While Yeats remains keenly conscious of modernity’s contradictions, Rilke and Eliot propose hard-won answers to them. But all three drew upon either conservative or even reactionary cultural and political visions. How might these poets nonetheless speak to contemporary crises of meaning and purpose? And thinking about the dangers of our own day and age, what might they tell us about some of the more seductive ‘solutions’?

We shall discuss the English-language works in English, and the German-language works in German.

Empfohlene Literatur
I. Primärliteratur:

Please buy the books in the editions stated:

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems, ed. by Frank Kermode (London: Penguin, 2003).

Rainer Maria Rilke, Duineser Elegien / Die Sonette an Orpheus (Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1974).

A selection of W. B. Yeats’s poems, and further poems by Rilke, will be made available on the Virtual Campus.

II. Sekundärliteratur:

Manfred Engel (ed.), Rilke Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2013).

Jason Harding, The New Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Marjorie Howes and John Kelly (eds), The Cambridge Companion to W. B. Yeats (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

A. David Moody (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

A variety of further texts will be made available on the Virtual Campus, as well as in the seminar Semesterapparat. Texts will be uploaded in the course of the semester, shortly before the relevant seminar session is due to take place. Please note that you alone are responsible for knowing and keeping track of information made available to you in printed documents and on the Virtual Campus. Needless to say that your active and regular participation is expected. Absences will be excused when they result from circumstances beyond students’ control (illness, family emergency, religious holiday).

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