Week 1 (1/16) – Introduction

Marta Werner and Paul Voss, “Introduction to Poetics of the Archive” (D)

T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915) (D)

F.T. Marinetti, “Futurist Manifesto” (1909) (D)

Exercise – Take stock of your experience with archives, however you conceive of them, according to the 5 Ws: Who, What, Why, Where, When. Make some connections between these and elements of the Werner/Voss intro, and be prepared to discuss in class.


Week 2 (1/23) – Modernist Periodicals

Naomi Milthorpe, “Archives, Authority, Aura: Modernism’s Archival Turn” (D)

Scholes and Wulfman, “Modernity and the Rise of Modernism: A Review”; “Rethinking Modernist Magazines: From Genre to Database”; “How to Study a Modern Magazine” (D)

Look through the titles available under the Journals tab at The Modernist Journals Project ( and spend some time “thumbing through” the ones that interest you. Get a sense of the variety of magazine types in which modernism emerged. Familiarize yourself with the three viewing options: Book, Thumbnail, and Scroll Right. Each magazine issue may also be downloaded as a PDF (left hand links). The TEI-encoded XML and MODS metadata files are also available via the left hand links. Be prepared to talk in class about interesting things you noticed in these magazines and what kinds of thoughts they gave you about Modernism.

Read the introduction to BLAST magazine as well as the first issue (June 1914):  BLAST was a Vorticist magazine edited by Wyndham Lewis. Keep in mind that the guiding idea of Vorticism was that of a tornado or whirlpool — a powerful cyclonic storm that pulls in everything in its path and explodes it. It is founded on the notion of juxtaposing unresolved contraries, like the point of a tornado where both the centrifugal and centripetal forces are at their strongest. We’ll think about how that idea shows itself in the stylistic form and in the content of BLAST magazine, so be sure to read it visually for the typography (spatial arrangement of text on the page).


Week 3 (1/30) – Periodicals in the Archive

George Bornstein, “How to Read a Page” (D)

See also the following digital archives of Modernist periodicals and material culture:

Meet in Special Collections, 5th floor of McFarlin Library. Take the elevator near the old café, turn right, and ring the doorbell.

Bring laptop or pencil and paper to write on, for an in-class exercise.


Week 4 (2/6) – WWI Poetry

Paul Fussell, “Oh What a Literary War,” from The Great War and Modern Memory (D)

The following poems are in a handout (D) and also downloadable from the course blog.

  • Rupert Brooke (UK), “The Soldier” (1914)
  • Read first: Ovid, “Hyacinth,” from Metamorphoses (8 A.D.)
    Isaac Rosenberg, “Break of Day in the Trenches” (1916)
  • Siegfried Sassoon (UK), “They” and “Everyone Sang” (1917)
  • Guillaume Apollinaire (France), “It’s Raining” and “Thunder’s Palace” (1918)
  • Carl Sandburg (US), “Grass” (1918)
  • Wilfred Owen (UK), “Dulce et Decorum Est” (1917)


Week 5 (2/13) – WWI: All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)

Discussion Questions: Dennis, Oliver, Elham

Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)

Any and all observations welcome, but let’s also focus on how the novel explores cultural memory and the archive broadly conceived.


Week 6 (2/20) – WWI in the Archive

Meet in Special Collections for an activity with materials from WWI.

Paul Fussell, “Persistence and Memory,” from The Great War and Modern Memory (D)

Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (D)

Jane Bennett, selection from Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (2010) (D)

Bill Brown, selection from Other Things (2015) (D)


Week 7 (2/27) – Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)

Discussion Questions: Yuhyeoi & William

The Waste Land is, among other things, a response to the cultural fallout of WWI and one of the most difficult works in all of literature. I recommend reading the poem several times, with the contextual material and the Fussell chapter in between two of those times.

Paul Fussell, “Myth, Ritual, and Romance,” in The Great War and Modern Memory (D)

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

In our Norton Critical Edition, read also the Context material on:

  • James G. Frazer (re: myth, ritual)
  • Jessie Weston (re: myth, ritual, romance)
  • Aldous Huxley (re: Mme Sosostris and the post-war occult/soothsayers) 
  • Charles Baudelaire
  • Ovid
  • Buddha (re: The Fire Sermon)
  • Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (re: the Three Great Disciplines)
  • St. Augustine (re: the Young Man Carbuncular)
  • Any of the other scholarly apparatus that interests you.


Week 8 (3/5) – The Waste Land in the Magazines, Other Archival Matter(s)

Discussion Questions: Tyler D.

Michael Foucault, “The Historical A Priori and the Archive” (D)

The Criterion (October 1922) (D)

The Dial (November 1922) (D)

Meet in Special Collections for an activity on The Waste Land in the Dial and Criterion magazines, plus some other material. We will use the experience to think about Foucault’s heavy theoretical treatment of the archive.

Before the meeting, please read the assigned issues of The Dial and The Criterion (D) and think about how the poem relates to other editorial and advertising content in the magazine. Please have some points or questions to make about it.

In-class tutorial on how to read Ulysses for the following week.


Week 9 (3/12) – Ulysses (1922)

Discussion Questions: Greg

T.S. Eliot, “Ulysses, Order, Myth” (in our Norton Critical Edition of The Waste Land)

The Gilbert/Linati schema of the novel's plot, character, and symbolic structures:

Selections from Ulysses. Starred entries are especially pertinent to archival theory.

  • Episode I – “Telemachus” *
  • Episode II – “Nestor”
  • Episode XIII – “Nausicaa” *
  • Episode XIV – “Oxen of the Sun” *
  • Episode XVI – “Eumaeus”
  • Episode XVII – “Ithaca” *
  • Episode XVIII – “Penelope”


  • Read or brush up on The Odyssey before reading Ulysses.
  • Acquire a copy or view this link (w/downloadable PDF) of Stuart Gilbert’s James Joyce’s Ulysses for chapter-by-chapter synopses and anchoring information (Homeric correspondence, time of day, location, technique, symbols, etc.)
  • Go to MJP and look at the magazines in which Ulysses serialized as “Work in Progress” starting in March 1918: The Little Review (Chicago, New York) and The Egoist (London).


Week 11 (3/26) – Joyce in the Archive

Jacques Derrida, selections from Archive Fever (D)

Meet in Special Collections for an activity with materials from the Joyce archive.


SPRING BREAK – 3/18-22


Week 12 (4/2) – Rebecca West, Return of the Soldier

Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier


Week 13 (4/9) – West, Psychoanalysis, and the Archive

Discussion Questions: Jill & Mohamad

Elizabeth Covington, “The Return of the Soldier and Re-Appropriated Memories” (D)

Brush up on Derrida’s Archive Fever

Meet in Special Collections for an activity with Rebecca West materials.


Week 14 (4/16) – Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

            Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Wide Sargasso Sea is a feminist and postcolonial prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. It is recommended to re-read or at least refresh your memory of Jane Eyre before reading Wide Sargasso Sea.


Week 15 (4/23) – Rhys in the Archive

Claude McKay, “Subway Wind” (1922):

Meet in Special Collections for an activity with materials from the Rhys archive. Semester re-cap.