Trench Warfare and the Literary ImaginationWhat were the effects of trench warfare on the Europeanimagination?• Wilfred Owen: “The Pity of War” — Owen’s poems drewimmediate attention for his horrifying descriptions of the war’s victims.His intent is that the reader should share his horrific dreams.• In the Trenches: Remarque’s All Quiet on the WesternFront — The horror of trench warfare is probably nowhere morethoroughly detailed than in Remarque’s book. It sold more than amillion copies in Germany the first year of its publication in 1928.
• William Butler Yeats and the Specter of Collapse — Yeatsmoved beyond the Symbolist movement and imagined a much darkerworld. The specter of life in the new postwar era is insentient, pitiless,and nightmarish.• T.S. Eliot: The Landscape of Desolation — Eliot’s poetryreflects both the erudition of a scholar and the depression of aclassicist. In the Waste Land he describes a world turned upside down,a landscape of complete emotional and physical aridity.• Discussion Question: How did the experience of World War I affectattitudes about patriotism and heroism?
Escape From Despair: Dada in the CapitalsWhat is Dada?• Dada was an international signifier of negation. It did not meananything, just as, in face of war, life itself had come to seemmeaningless. Dada came into being in Zurich, founded by a group ofintellectuals and artists escaping the conflict in neutral Switzerland.Key figures in the movement are Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, andRaoul Hausmann.• Discussion Question: Why do the Dadaists reject language?
Russia: Art and RevolutionHow did the arts respond to the Russian Revolution?• Vladimir Lenin and the Soviet State — Lenin headed the mostradical of Russian postrevolutionary groups, the Bolsheviks. He was autopian idealist. But when his party did not succeed in free elections,he dissolved the government and created the Politburo• The Arts of the Revolution — Prior to the Revolution, avant-gardeRussian artists established their own brand of modern art. KasimirMalevich created Cubo-Futurism and then became engaged inSuprematism. After the revolution Malevich was inspired by ElLissitzsky and his piece, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, notingthat Suprematism should adopt a more “Constructive” approach toreorganizing the world. Sergei Eisenstein was a revolutionaryfilmmaker who created The Battleship Potemkin. Lev Kuleshovdeveloped a theory of montage.
Freud, Jung, and the Art of the UnconsciousHow does Freudian psychology manifest itself in the Surrealist artmovement?• Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents— In this book, Freudwrote that the greatest impediment to human happiness wasaggression.• The Jungian Archetype— Jung believed that the unconscious lifeof the individual was founded on the collective unconscious, the innate,inherited contents of the human mind. It manifests itself in the form ofarchetypes, those patterns of thought that recur throughout history andacross cultures, in the form of dreams, myths, and the fairy tales.
• The Dreamwork of Surrealism — Andre Breton published theSurrealist Manifesto and credited Freud with encouraging his owncreative endeavors. Max Ernst’s, The Master’s Bedroom, Its’ WorthSpending a Night There is the first Surrealist work in the visual arts.Picasso’s Girl Before a Mirror addresses Surrealism’s most basictheme – the self in all its complexity. A sense of self-alienation iscentral to the work of Salvador Dali. Among the first paintings executedunder the influence of the Surrealists is The Lugubrious Game. A pieceby Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball, is the work that caused theSurrealists to take serious interest in the possibilities of a Surrealistsculptural project.• Discussion Question: What is Freud’s basic thesis in Civilization and ItsDiscontents?
Experimentation and the Literary Life:The Stream-of-Consciousness NovelWhat is the stream-of-consciousness style of writing?• Joyce, Ulysses, and Sylvia Beach — No writer was moreinfluential in introducing the stream-of-consciousness narrative thanJames Joyce and no novel better demonstrates its powers than hisUlysses. Banned in both Britain and the United States, Sylvia Beachagreed to publish Ulysses in an edition of 1, 000.• Virginia Woolf: In the Mind of Mrs. Dalloway — Woolf arguedthat women could realize their full potential only if they achieved bothfinancial and psychological independence from men. Mrs. Dalloway isWoolf’s effort to examine for herself “an ordinary day” of a decidedlydifferent character from those in Ulysses.• Marcel Proust and the Novel of Memory — It was Proust whofirst imagined the novel as a mental space. Remembrance of ThingsPast shows that it is the book and the acts of memory that it restores tothe present—and hence to the future--that time, in all its flux is finally“regained.”