20 credits at level HE6
Through examination and discussion of a range of poetic and prose writings, this module will look at some of the central ideas from the period as Decadence or the Aesthetic Movement ('Art for Art's Sake'). This movement was closely linked to the Symbolist Movement in literature. It championed imagination over reality, art over life and explored new dimensions in morality, immorality and amorality. It was the time when literature aspired to the condition of music, when the search for exquisite sensations held sway and when art and beauty were regarded almost as a religion. The Decadents turned their backs on conventional morality, the industrial age and the heyday of Empire as altogether too shoddy, vulgar and philistine and in so doing raised important debates about identity, power and morality in the so-called fin-de-siecle.
1& 2 The Question of Origins: The Art for Art'sSake Movement in France: Flaubert, Gautier, Baudelaire
3. J.K.Huysman's Against Nature
4. & 5. Oscar Wilde and the importance of Art
7. Rimbaud: The Artist as Visionary
8. Symbolist Theory: Laforgue and Corbiere
9. Morality, immorality and amorality
10. Art, responsibility and the family
11. European decadent writing and art
12& 13 Double lives and double identities
Fourteen 3-hour seminars, combining lectures, seminar discussion and student-led sessions, with personal tutorials for the preparation of essays and projects.
1. Essay 1500 words (40%)
2. Project 2500-3000 words on an individually negotiated subject related to the module (60%)
Independent work is a crucial part of the learning strategy for this module and students are required to move beyond the immediate material of classroom discussion, and to connect their reading to historical, cultural and theoretical material, to inform their understanding of the set texts and to develop understanding of the thematic and theoretical issues the module raises. The project thus carries the weight of the assessment for the module as it is designed to be an independent and developed engagement with complex questions of the relationship between social and cultural institutions, and mainstream and marginal representations of those forces. The essay is designed to allow the student to develop confidence in handling in detail often problematic texts, while the project will be a much broader and more complex handling of text and context.
when you have successfully completed this module you will:
to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcome you will:
|1.||demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the cultural debates of the 1880s and 1890s and the impact of intellectual and philosophical ideas on literary culture within this period||show an ability to understand and use the cultural debates of late 1880's and 1890's culture to inform close critical analysis of the selected texts|
|2.||through the close analysis of individual texts, trace some of the ways in which texts of this period express or represent dominant ideas.||research, organize and articulate a scholarly critical argument in writing which integrates primary text analysis with appropriate contextual material|
|3.||Have enhanced your ability to justfiy an interpretative view of a text by use of relevant and pertinently used detailed primary and secondary sources||Offer a well evidenced and well-researched interpretation of texts under scrutiny|
|4.||Have developed clarity of expression and ability to develop and present an argument appropriately||Give appropriate attention to presentation of course work and attention to organisation and clarity of argumentation in course work|
Your achievement of the learning outcomes for this module will be tested as follows:
|Description||Essay (1500 words)||Project (2500-3000 words)|
There are no prerequisites for this module.
No restrictions apply.
Garval, M., A Dream of Stone: fame, vision, and monumentality in Nineteenth-Century French Literary Culture, University of Delaware Press, 2004, 0874138620, Y
Queering the Canon: defying sights in German literature and culture, Camden House, 1998, 1571131787, Y
G Beer, Darwin’s Plots (Routledge, 1983)
G Hough, The Last Romantics, (Duckworth, 1949)
(eds) S. Ledger and S McCracken, Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siecle, (CUP, 1995)
Reading Fin De Siecle Fictions, Longman, 1996, 0582233909, Y
The Fin de Siecle: a reader in cultural history, Oxford University Press, 2000, 0198742797, Y
R K P Thornton, The Decadent Dilemma, (London, 1983)
R Williams, Culture and Society 1880-1950, (Penguin, 1963)
R Williams, The Country and the City (Paladin, 1975)
R Williams, Problems in Materialism and Culture (Verso, 1980)
Romancing Decay: Ideas of Decadence in European Culture, ed. Michael St John, European Culture in Transition 3 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999)
Primary texts for this module may include: Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) Algernon Charles Swinburne, Poems and Ballads I (1866) Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873) Joris Karl Huysmans, A Rebours (1884) (1892) Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)
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