Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage, 1907

Course Description

The Armory Show
New York Dada
Pablo Picasso
Gertrude Stein
William C. Williams
Joseph Conte Home

English 628:  Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature

The New York Avant-Garde, 1913-1929

Fall 2003

Professor Joseph Conte

Aug. 28:           Introduction:  The New York Avant-Garde, 1913-1929 

Sep. 4:             Modernity and the Avant-Garde.  Calinescu, “The Idea of Modernity” (13-92) and “The Idea of the Avant-Garde” (93-148). 

Sep. 11:           Williams, Poems 1914-1917 (Collected Poems I, 39-59); Al Que Quiere! (1917).  The “Others” group, Grantwood, NJ.  Alfred Kreymborg.  Man Ray.  

Williams, “Painters and Parties” in The Autobiography (134‑42).
Marling, “The ‘Others’ of Walter Arensberg,” in William Carlos Williams and the Painters (36-54).

Sep. 18:           Williams, Kora in Hell (1920) in Imaginations; “Spirit of ‘76,” “Portrait of a Lady,” “Marianne Moore” (1920); Sour Grapes (1921).  The Independents Exhibition.  Charles Demuth.

Williams, “Charles Demuth” and “Sour Grapes” in The Autobiography (151-62).
Moore, Review of Kora in Hell (Collected Prose 56-60).
Stephen Fredman, “The generative sentence:  WCW’s Kora in Hell,” in Poet’s Prose (14-56). 

Sep. 25:           Williams, Spring and All (1923).  Dada and Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. “The Attic Which is Desire” (1930).  Charles Sheeler and precisionism. 

Tashjian, “Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray” in Skyscraper Primitives (49-70).
Marling, “Dada Spring” in William Carlos Williams and the Painters (175-95).
Williams, “Charles Sheeler” in A Recognizable Image (140‑ 48).
Schmidt, “Some Versions of Modernist Pastoral” in William Carlos Williams, The Arts, and Literary Tradition (10-47).

Oct. 2:             Loy, “Futurism x Feminism:  The Circle Squared” and “Songs to Joannes” in The Lost Lunar Baedeker (3-68).  “Aphorisms on Futurism” and “Feminist Manifesto” (149-56).  Futurism and the new woman. 

Burke, “Love Songs,” “Subversive Amusements (New York, 1916-17),” and “Colossus (New York, 1917)” in Becoming Modern (195-251).
DuPlessis, “‘Seismic Orgasm’:  Sexual Intercourse and narrative Meaning in Mina Loy” in Mina Loy:  Woman and Poet (45-74).

 Oct. 9:            Loy, “Corpses and Geniuses” and “Compensations of Poverty” in The Lost Lunar Baedeker (71-146 ).  “Modern Poetry” (157-61).

Burke, “Postwar Despairing (New York, 1920-21),” and “The Compensations of Poverty (New York, 1948-53),” in Becoming Modern (282-305, 409-424).
Kouidis, “The Modernist Vision” in Mina Loy (49-86).
Dunn, “Mina Loy, Fashion, and the Avant-Garde” in Mina Loy:  Woman and Poet (443-55).

 Oct. 16:          Moore, Complete Poems (5-50).  The women of “Others.”

Moore, “‘New’ Poetry Since 1912” in Collected Prose (120‑ 24).Watson, “Poetry II:  New Battles” in Strange Bedfellows (282-310).

 Oct. 23:          Moore, Complete Poems (51-91).  The Dial years.

Williams, “Marianne Moore” in Imaginations (310-20).
Leavell, “Surfaces and Spatial Form” in Marianne Moore and the Visual Arts (56-95).

 Oct. 30:          Leslie Fiedler Symposium

 Nov. 6:           Stevens, Harmonium (1923), in Collected Poems (3-62).  Cubism and prismatic vision.

 Moore, “Well Moused, Lion,” review of Harmonium in Collected Prose (91-98).
Altieri, “Why Stevens Must Be Abstract,” in Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry (321-58).

 Nov. 13:         Stevens, Harmonium (1923), in Collected Poems (62-113). The Arensberg apartment.  Duchamp’s Large Glass (1915-23). 

Watson, “New York Hosts Tout le Monde” in Strange Bedfellows (237-81).
MacLeod, Wallace Stevens and Modern Art.

 Nov. 20:         Stein, “Three Portraits of Painters” (1912), Tender Buttons (1914) in Selected Writings (327-35, 459-509).  Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work

Williams, “The Work of Gertrude Stein” in Imaginations (346‑53).
Dubnick, “The Second Obscure Style:  Tender Buttons and Synthetic Cubism” in The Structure of Obscurity (28-44).

 Nov. 27:         Thanksgiving Day

 Dec. 4:            Stein and Virgil Thomson, Four Saints in Three Acts (1929) in Selected Writings (577-612).  Opera in American. 

David Harris, “The Original Four Saints in Three Acts.”
Watson, Steven.  Prepare for Saints (selections).
Williams, “George Antheil and the Cantilène Critics” in Imaginations (353-57).

 Course Requirements

For all students registered intensively, a 20-minute oral presentation on an issue related to course materials, accompanied by a one-page single-spaced précis and bibliography of additional sources; a twenty-page research paper due no later than Friday, December 12.  For Master’s students registered extensively, a 20-minute oral presentation or short position paper is required for a letter grade.

Required Texts:

Calinescu, Matei.  Five Faces of Modernity:  Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism.  Durham, NC:  Duke University Press, 1987

Loy, Mina.  The Lost Lunar Baedeker.  Ed. Roger L. Conover.  New York:  Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996.

Moore, Marianne.  The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore.  New York:  Penguin, 1981.

Stein, Gertrude.  Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein.  New York:  Vintage, 1990.

Stevens, Wallace.  The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens.  New York: Vintage, 1990.

Williams, William Carlos.  The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams.  Volume I, 1909-1939.  Ed. A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan.  New York:  New Directions, 1986.

Williams.  Imaginations.  New York:  New Directions, 1970.

All texts for the course can be found at Talking Leaves Bookstore, 3158 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214; (716) 837-8554.  Some additional materials will be provided in photocopy.

Reserve List:

Altieri, Charles.  Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry.  New York:  Cambridge UP, 1989.  PS310 M57 A58 1989

Burke, Carolyn.  Becoming Modern:  The Life of Mina Loy.  New York:  Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1996.  PS3523.O975.Z58.1996

Dijkstra, Bram.  Cubism, Stieglitz, and the Early Poetry of William Carlos Williams.  Princeton:  Princeton UP, 1969.  PS3545 I544 Z585

Drucker, Johanna. The Visible Word:  Experimental Typography and Modern Art, 1909-1923.  Chicago:  U of Chicago P, 1994. Z124 .D78 1994

Dubnick, Randa.  The Structure of Obscurity:  Gertrude Stein, Language, and Cubism.  Urbana and Chicago:  U of Illinois P, 1984.  PS3537 T323 Z588 1984

Fredman, Stephen.  Poet’s Prose:  The Crisis in American Verse. New York:  Cambridge UP, 1983.  PS323.5 F7 1990

Green, Martin.  New York 1913:  The Armory Show and the Paterson Strike Pageant.  New York:  Scribner, 1988.  N6448.A74 G76 1988

Halter, Peter.  The Revolution in the Visual Arts and the Poetry of William Carlos Williams.  New York:  Cambridge UP, 1994.  PS3545 .I544 Z589 1994

Harris, David.  “The Original Four Saints in Three Acts.”  Drama Review 26 (Spring 1982):  101-130.

Kinnahan, Linda A.  Poetics of the Feminine:  Authority and Literary Tradition in William Carlos Williams, Mina Loy, Denise Levertov, and Kathleen Fraser.  New York:  Cambridge UP, 1994.  Poetry Collection only.

Kouidis, Virginia M.  Mina Loy, American Modernist Poet.  Baton Rouge:  Louisiana State UP, 1980.  PS3523 O975 73

Leavell, Linda.  Marianne Moore and the Visual Arts:  Prismatic Color.  Baton Rouge and London:  Louisiana State UP, 1995.  PS3525 .O5616 Z686 1995                                                              

Loy, Mina.  The Last Lunar Baedeker.  Ed. Roger L. Conover. Highlands, NC:  Jargon Society, 1982.  Poetry Collection only.

MacLeod, Glen G.  Wallace Stevens and Modern Art:  From the Armory Show to Abstract Expressionism.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1993. PS3537.T4753 Z6775 1993

MacGowan, Christopher J.  William Carlos Williams’s Early Poetry: The Visual Arts Background.  Ann Arbor, MI:  UMI Research P, 1984.  Poetry Collection only.

Marling, William.  William Carlos Williams and the Painters, 1909-1923.  Athens:  Ohio UP, 1982.  PS3545 I544 Z629

Moore, Marianne.  The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore.  New York:  Viking, 1986.  PS3525 O5616 A14 1986

Sayre, Henry.  The Visual Text of William Carlos Williams. Urbana:  U of Chicago P, 1983.  PS3545 I544 Z878 1983

Schaffner, Ingrid, and Lisa Jacobs, eds.  Julien Levy:  Portrait of an Art Gallery.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 1998.  N8660 .L47 J86 1998

Schmidt, Peter.  William Carlos Williams, the Arts, and Literary Tradition.  Baton Rouge:  Louisiana State UP, 1988.  PS3545 I544 Z879 1988

Shreiber, Maeera, and Keith Tuma, eds.  Mina Loy:  Woman and Poet.  Orono, ME:  National Poetry Foundation, 1998.  L69.M.1 S37 M56 1998  Poetry Collection only.

Tashjian, Dickran.  Skyscraper Primitives:  Dada and the American Avant-Garde, 1910-1925.  Middletown, CT:  Wesleyan UP, 1975.  NX504 T37

---.  William Carlos Williams and the American Scene, 1920-1940.  New York:  The Whitney Museum, 1978.  PS3545 I544 Z88

Thomas, F. Richard.  Literary Admirers of Alfred Stieglitz. Carbondale:  Southern Illinois UP, 1983.  PS228 P48 T5 1983

Watson, Steven.  Prepare for Saints: Gertrude Stein, Virgil Thomson, and the Mainstreaming of American Modernism.  New York: Random House, 1998.  ML410 .T452 W37 1998

---.  Strange Bedfellows:  The First American Avant‑Garde.  New York:  Abbeville Press, 1991.  NX504 W38 1991

Williams, William Carlos.  The Autobiography.  New York:  New Directions, 1967.  PS 3545 I544 Z58774 1989

---.  A Recognizable Image:  William Carlos Williams on Art and Artists.  New York:  New Directions, 1978.  N745.2 W54 1978

Last Revised on Monday, August 25, 2003

Course Materials are copyright © Joseph M. Conte 2003 All Rights Reserved