Twentieth Century Literature 2015 Week 1

We got off to a great start today. Thank you for your concentrated attention and your willing participation in what we are exploring together. The 20th Century is one of the most momentous periods from the point of view of radical changes taking place in the way people think, feel and create. It is important that we get to understand what the driving forces are behind these radical changes. This understanding can clearly deepen your own understanding of yourself. We all assume too readily that we know who and what we are. The writers and artists of the 20th Century lead us to doubt this assumption and make us explore the meaning and purpose of our lives more deeply. This is exactly what Conrad is trying to get us to see in his “Preface” and it is certainly what he is trying to mirror in Marlow’s journey down the Congo River. On page 1977 Marlow tells “Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world…” It was also like travelling deep into the recesses of his own mind. This is a journey not merely in physical space, it is a journal in temporal and psychic space as well.


Blog Topics

Creative: Write a short paragraph in which you describe a journey in which you suggest that the journey is more like a symbolic rather than a literal journey.

Creative: In imitation of G.M. Hopkins write a poem that celebrates the arrival of spring. Try to use some of the amazing language devices that are at the fingertips of every speaker of the English language. Be conscious of what Conrad says about the purpose of finding “the very truth” in the “forms, in its colours, in its light, in its shadow…”

Critical: Find out why Coppola decided to create a contemporary film version of Heart of Darkness. What light does his creative effort shed on the purpose of Conrad’s original text. 

General: Create a topic of your own (critical or creative) that embraces some of the ideas covered in this week’s classes. 

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