Undergraduate Course: Fin de Siècle into Modern (ENLI10397)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course will explore the literature of the period 1880-1910: decades of cultural transition and innovation; décadence and modernism; beginnings and 'fins'. For an epoch irreversibly affixed to the sense of an ending, the fin de siècle also witnessed an extraordinary range of new artistic movements and forms of expression, anticipating the spirit of radical experimentation more frequently associated with writers of the twentieth century. Students will be encouraged to probe into concepts of periodization, genre, and form, considering how a range of texts (novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays) were shaped alongside art-works in other spheres: painting, dance, music, and early cinema. By underscoring the 'in-betweenness' of these decades - their status at the boundaries of major literary periods - we will consider new ways of thinking about the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.
By exploring the cultural significance of the fin de siècle, students will consider the ways in which nineteenth-century movements such as Aestheticism, Symbolism and Decadence formulated their outlooks, re-imagining the relationships between the arts, as well as the artist's place in the modern world. For authors writing in English as well as in French, Paris was an epicentre of artistic exchange and institutional daring: home to the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre, the Folies Bergère, the Moulin Rouge, and the Académie des Beaux-Artes. We will examine how a shifting climate of imperial ambition, resurgent nationalisms, urban expansion, and technological novelty shaped the way that writers negotiated the turn of the century in this city and elsewhere. By interrogating historical constructions of gender and sexuality, we will discuss the emergence of distinct categories such as the dandy and the New Woman, looking ahead to the political turn of early twentieth-century feminism.
This course will complement and build on students' existing knowledge of Victorian, Edwardian, and Modernist literature, while probing into the overlaps and tensions between these terms. Additionally, we will examine the profound influence of the arts more widely on writing during this period, challenging the boundaries between so-called 'high' and 'low' art forms. Students will therefore develop an ability to think across disciplinary boundaries, as well as an enhanced critical understanding of the difficulties of defining separate literary 'periods'. Independent preparation will enable students to contribute to seminar discussions about the formal, philosophical, aesthetic, and political qualities of literature from 1880-1910, and students will be assessed on their class participation at the end of the semester. Additionally, students will be required to meet weekly in their Autonomous Learning Groups (ALGs) to prepare materials for each seminar, and these tasks will take a range of formats (written reports, verbal presentations, group activities and other tasks). This course will be assessed through the completion of one 2,500-word coursework essay (30%) and one 3,000-word take-home exam (60%).
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Other Study Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Additional Information (Learning and Teaching)
1 hour per week autonomous learning group
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||One Coursework Essay of 2,500 words: 30%
One time-limited Final Essay of 3000 words: 60%
Class Participation Assessment: 10%
||Detailed written feedback will be provided for the coursework essay and students will be able to receive oral feedback in office hours should they require it.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the key features of writing across different genres -- poetry, novels, short stories, plays, essays-- between 1880-1910.
- Critically engage with the notion of 'periodization' and articulate its benefits and limitations in relation to literature of the fin de siècle and early twentieth century.
- Articulate the distinctive characteristics of major aesthetic and cultural movements during this period (Aestheticism, Symbolism, Decadence, Modernism).
- Reflect on the relationship between the arts and important historical, cultural, and political issues in the late 19th and early 20th centuries e.g. gender, sexuality, race, nationalism, technology, capitalism.
Conrad, Joseph. The Secret Agent. Norton Critical Editions, 2016.
Forster, E. M. Howards End. Penguin, 2000.
James, Henry. The Beast in the Jungle. Penguin, 2011.
Ledger, Sally, and Roger Luckhurst eds. The Fin De Siècle: A Reader in Cultural History, c. 1880-1900. Oxford: OUP, 2000.
Schreiner, Olive. The Story of an African Farm. Oxford World's Classics, 2008.
Showalter, Elaine ed., Daughters of Decadence: Stories of Women Writers of the Fin-de-Siècle. Virago, 1993.
Wells, H. G. The Sleeper Awakes. Penguin, 2005.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oxford World's Classics, 2008.
---. Salomé. In The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays. Oxford World's Classics. 2008.
Yeats, W. B. The Major Works. Oxford World's Classics. 2008.
Albright, Daniel. Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press,
Berghaus, Günter. Theatre, Performance, and the Historical Avant-Garde. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Bernheimer, Charles. Decadent Subjects: The Idea of Decadence in Art, Literature, Philosophy, and Culture of the Fin-de-Siècle in Europe. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2002.
Dijkstra, Bram. Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Eltis, Sos. Revising Wilde: Society and Subversion in the Plays of Oscar Wilde. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.
Gagnier, Regenia. Idylls of the Marketplace: Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Public. Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1987.
Garelick, Rhonda K. Rising Star: Dandyism, Gender and Performance in the Fin de Siècle. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1998.
Greiner, Rae. Sympathetic Realism in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins
University Press, 2012.
Lane, Christopher. The Burdens of Intimacy: Psychoanalysis and Victorian Masculinity. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Mahoney, Kirsten. Literature and the Politics of Post-Victorian Decadence. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Marcus, Laura. Dreams of Modernity: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Cinema. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Marcus, Laura, Michèle Mendelssohn and Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr, eds. Late Victorian into Modern. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2016.
McGuinness, Patrick, ed. Symbolism, Decadence, and the Fin de Siècle: French and European Perspectives. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000.
O'Neill, Morna and Michael Hatt, eds. The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design and Performance in Britain, 1901-1910. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2010.
Potolsky, Matthew. The Decadent Republic of Letters: Taste, Politics, and Cosmopolitan Community from Baudelaire to Beardsley. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
Reynolds, Dee. Symbolist Aesthetics and Early Abstract Art: Sites of Imaginary Space. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1995.
Sherry, Vincent. Modernism and the Reinvention of Decadence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Stokes, John, ed. Fin de siècle/ Fin du globe: Fears and Fantasies of the Late Nineteenth Century. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 1992.
Taxidou, Olga. Modernism and Performance: Jarry to Brecht. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Thurschwell, Pamela. Literature, Technology and Magical Thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Weir, David. Decadence and the Making of Modernism. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995.
Worth, Katharine. The Irish Drama of Europe from Yeats to Beckett. London: The Athlone Press, 1978.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Studying this course will equip students with a range of skills in line with SCQF Level 10 learning characteristics.
Generic Cognitive Skills: Students will develop their skills in critical analysis and evaluation through exposure to a range of different texts and cultural sources each week. They will have the opportunity to showcase their analytical abilities through contributions to class discussion, ALG preparation, and written coursework.
Communication: Students will develop the ability to communicate fluently and confidently about key critical issues and theories to their peers and other academics. A combination of verbal and written tasks will assist their development in this area.
Autonomy, Accountability, and Working with Others: Through meeting in ALGs and participating in seminars, students will show their capacity to work successfully in small groups, taking responsibility for their portion of the reading and preparation. This course will also require them to read and think autonomously, ensuring that they also take control of their own personal development.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Seminar: 2 hours per week for 10 weeks; plus 1 hour per week for 10 weeks: attendance at Autonomous Learning Group - at time to be arranged.
|Course organiser||Dr Megan Girdwood
|Course secretary||Miss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030