English 190

Research Seminar: Literature and the Linguistic Turn

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2017 Blevins, Jeffrey

MWF 12-1 39 Evans Research Seminars

Book List

See below.


In the early twentieth century, philosophers began to suspect that all their ancient problems—from the riddle of selfhood to the mystery of other minds to the imprecision of sensation—were actually problems with language. We could fix everything, they thought, if only we could speak more clearly. And so, they concluded, philosophy had better become devoted to the study of language. This “linguistic turn” occurred simultaneously with the advent of literary modernism, which itself emphasized the fact of language by experimenting with grammar and syntax. However, unlike philosophers of the linguistic turn, modernists immediately recognized that this swerve into language created more (and richer) problems than it solved, because language is inherently ambiguous and paradoxical. Thus, we will see that modernist literature predicts the linguistic turn’s eventual demise at the hands of poststructural theorists decades later.

We will read works of modernist literature alongside philosophical sources in order to understand how philosophers and authors simultaneously worked through (often while in close personal and professional intimacy) issues with language like: vagueness/exactitude, denotation/connotation, figuration, metaphor, reference, description, naming, and sense/nonsense. Our focus throughout the course will be less on how modernists received philosophical ideas about language and more on how they manipulated and extended these ideas into new aesthetic and stylistic protocols.

We will read authors such as: Amiri Baraka, Samuel Beckett, Hart Crane, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, E.M. Forster, Robert Frost, Henry James, James Joyce, Marianne Moore, Charles Olson, Ezra Pound, Thomas Pynchon, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Virginia Woolf, and W.B. Yeats.

We will read philosophers and theorists such as: Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gottlob Frege, Edmund Husserl, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, J.S. Mill, C.S. Peirce, Richard Rorty, Bertrand Russell, Ferdinand Saussure, Wilfred Sellars, A.N. Whitehead, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Additionally, we will screen a number of films and plays that foreground language as a philosophical issue.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia

190/2 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan

190/4 Research Seminar: Jane Austen and the Theory of the Novel Miller, D.A.

190/5 Research Seminar: Writing a World in Crisis: Medieval and Modern Perry, R. D.

190/6 Research Seminar: Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global Bahr, Stephanie M

190/7 Research Seminar: Place-Love: Fiction and the Melancholy of Form Xin, Wendy Veronica

190/8 Research Seminar: Literatures of the Ocean Sorensen, Janet

190/9 Research Seminar: <em>Beowulf</em> Thornbury, Emily V.

190/10 Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s Knapp, Jeffrey

190/11 Research Seminar: The Literature of Immortality Jones, Donna V.

190/13 Research Seminar: California Literature & Film Since WWI Starr, George A.

Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John

190/2 Research Seminar: Slow Seeing / Slow Reading Hejinian, Lyn

190/3 Research Seminar: Moby-Dick, and More Otter, Samuel

190/4 Research Seminar: U.S. Modernism Goble, Mark

190/5 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia

190/6 Research Seminar: The Medium Is the Message: Reading Poetry in Manuscript & Print, 1300-1600 Bahr, Stephanie M

190/7 Research Seminar: Note new topic: Troy and Tragedy Perry, R. D.

190/8 Research Seminar: James / Baldwin Best, Stephen M.

190/9 Research Seminar: On Style Xin, Wendy Veronica

190/10 Research Seminar: Do I Dare? Indecision and Modernist Literature Blevins, Jeffrey

190/11 Research Seminar: Modern California Literature and Film Starr, George A.

190/12 Research Seminar: Modern Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Film Starr, George A.

Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Sixties Goble, Mark

190/2 Research Seminar: Through a Future Darkly: Global Crisis and the Triumph of Dystopia Danner, Mark

190/3 Research Seminar: Late Henry James Breitwieser, Mitchell

190/4 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia

190/5 Research Seminar: Contemporary British Literature and Culture Falci, Eric

190/6 Research Seminar: Classical and Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey

190/7 Research Seminar: Materiality: How the Physical World Is Made to Mean Flynn, Catherine

190/8 Research Seminar: Vital Texts: Literature and the Discourse of Life Gaydos, Rebecca

190/9 Research Seminar: Medieval and Renaissance Lyric Crosson, Chad Gregory

190/10 Research Seminar: Purcell and Handel: Their Art in Setting English Texts to Music Hanson, Kristin

190/11 Research Seminar Lee, Steven S.

190/12 Research Seminar: Daniel Defoe and the Rise of the 18th-Century Novel Starr, George A.

190/13 Research Seminar: Keats and Literary Tradition Francois, Anne-Lise

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