Modernism: Colonizer and Colonized
Together we will explore and connect the high modernist irony of writers like Conrad, Forster or Eliot to the experience of imperialism. In many of these texts the imperial observer encounters the “darkness” of the colonies, only to experience an ironic return to the “wasteland” at home. We will investigate the connections between imaginative representations of colonizer and colonized, and apocalyptic figurations of the “wasteland” of metropolitan culture. Possible arguments include the experience that Imperialism had a pervasive impact on modernist culture, influencing – for better or worse – a full mode of context and representation.
We will critically examine the connections between aesthetic experimentation, psychic fragmentation and cultural disintegration, as well as the theme of exile. We will argue that writers most readily associated with the innovations of literary modernism were, like others, working as exiles. By expanding the notion of exile to include internal or symbolic exile we will include “marginal” figures who also chose aesthetic strategies of resistance and subversion. As Joyce said of Finnegans Wake “Je suis au bout d’Anglais.”
Syllabus: Modernism: Colonizer and Colonized