This section of Foundations of Research Writing investigates representations of New York City in poetry, prose, and fiction from the early twentieth century to the present. We will consider everyday life at street level, navigating news and transport, beginning with Frank O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died," in which the speaker learns of the death of the jazz musician Billie Holliday. O'Hara published this poem in Lunch Poems (1964), a collection of verse he composed while working at the Museum of Modern Art. We will have the opportunity to visit MoMA, seeing the paintings that inspired O'Hara and other writers. Focusing on the first half of the twentieth century, we will return to Edith Wharton's Old New York (1924) and E. B. White's Here is New York (1949). We will then explore the literary, artistic, and musical experimentation of the Harlem Renaissance and the ways it has inspired twenty-first century poets. Later in the term, we will join Dorothy Parker at the Algonquin Round Table and Dawn Powell in Greenwich Village. We will also encounter the lasting impression of transportation, reading such poems as William Carlos Williams's "The Great Figure" and Barbara Guest's "20," anticipating more recent narratives like Patti Smith's M Train (2015). Our course concludes with the Beat poetry scene and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" (1955). Students in this class will complete essays, blog postings, digital projects, and presentations, becoming more innovative thinkers able to articulate complex critical ideas.
This course examines global dimensions of literature and culture during the first half of the twentieth century. Reading British, American, and Anglophone writers, we will consider such topics as changes in technology, cities, transportation, media, education, the visual arts, war, and the British Empire. Our course texts will include James Joyce’s The Dead (1914), Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable (1934), and Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight (1938) as well as the poetry, prose, and short stories of Sarojini Naidu, Una Marson, Claude McKay, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and E. M. Forster. By completing essays, digital projects, and blog postings, the students in this course will develop a more detailed understanding of the complexity of language, geography, and history.