War and the Modern Novel (ILAC 200E)
From the turn of the 19th century to well into the 20th century, novelists developed the theme of alienation and the decline of civilization. Along with the fall of centuries-old empires, World War I brought about the collapse of traditional European values and the dissociation of the subject. The aestheticizing of violence and the ensuing insecurity inaugurated the society of totally administered life, based on universal suspicion and pervasive guilt. The seminar will study narrative responses to these developments in some of the foremost authors of the 20th century from several European literatures: Knut Hamsun, Joseph Roth, Ernst Jünger, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka, Curzio Malaparte, Thomas Mann, Mercè Rodoreda, Antonio Lobo Antunes, and Jaume Cabré. Taught in English.