The Modernism seminar brings together faculty, students, and members of the public to explore perspectives on cultural artifacts, primarily literature, of the long twentieth century. Instead of identifying a thematic focus for the year, we present lectures informed primarily by the interests of our speakers and reflecting multiple facets of Modernist studies.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming seminars.

Past Events 2019 - 20

Merve Emre, University of Oxford
Too Close Reading: Modernism at Scale from Gertrude Stein to Diane Williams
Benjamin Kohlmann, University of Freiburg
Modernism and Revolution: Literary Politics before the "Political Unconscious"
Amanda Anderson, Brown University
The Stream of Thought: Rumination in the Realist and Modernist Novel
Film Screening—Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry
John Plotz, Brandeis University
In Our Time and Out of It—Science Fiction Between the Wars, Karel Čapek to Flann O’Brien
Film Screening—Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry
Patrick Whitmarsh, Harvard University
'The last modernist gasp’: Speculative Modernism and Don DeLillo’s Underworld as Novel of the Anthropocene
Len Gutkin, Associate Editor, The Chronicle Review
CANCELLED: Camp’s Abstractions: Dandyism, Ivy Compton-Burnett, and Modernism's End

Past Events 2018 - 19

Kelly Rich, Harvard University
Only Repair: Postwar Modernism and the Reconstructive Imagination in Elizabeth Bowen
Madigan Haley, College of the Holy Cross
World-less Literature: Beckett, Arendt, and Marker at Midcentury
Thomas Davis, Ohio State University
Fossils of Tomorrow: Late Modernism and the Great Acceleration
Greg Forter, University of South Carolina
The Inarticulate Scream of History: Utopian Desire and Modernist Form in Benjamin, Chakrabarty, and Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story
Lucy Collins, University College, Dublin
Louis MacNeice at Sea
Michelle Clayton, Brown University
“Except, Perhaps, a Constellation”: Placing Dance in Modernism

Past Events 2017 - 18

Tamar Katz, Brown University
City Time: Nella Larsen's Rooms
Maren Linett, Purdue University
Dysgenic Shem: Modernism and Disability
Beth Blum, Harvard University
Negative Visualization; Or, Modernism's Survival Tips for the End Times
Eve Sorum, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Modernist Empathy: Melting, Transcendence, and T. S. Eliot’s Points of View
Eric Falci, University of California, Berkeley
Modernist Poetry and the Problem of Music: Pound, Loy, Eliot, and the Mediation of Genre

Past Events 2016 - 17

Kevin Ohi, Boston College
Abstraction and Embodiment in the Novel: Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room
Ravit Reichman, Brown University
Modernism’s Conditions of Ownership: From Forster and Bowen to Marie Kondo
Octavio González, Wellesley College
Masochism and Narrative Mood in Jean Rhys’ Quartet: "[A] lack of solidity and of fixed background"
Maria del Pilar Blanco, University of Oxford
Science and the Literary Histories of Spanish American Modernismo
David Alworth, Harvard University
The Contemporary Art Novel: A Media Archaeology from Henry James to Ben Lerner
Paige Reynolds, College of the Holy Cross
Stubborn Forms: Modernism and Contemporary Irish Women's Writing
Nana Ariel, Harvard University
Elizabeth Willson Gordon, The King’s University
John Lurz, Tufts University
Mine Özyurt Kılıç, Harvard University
Michelle Alexis Taylor, Harvard University
A Press of One’s Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press

Past Events 2015 - 16

Nancy Gish, University of Southern Maine
“A Modern Aeneid": Eliot, Virgil, and Abandoned Women
Patrick Mullen, Northeastern University
Boston’s Mary Follett and the Modernist Re-imagining of Collectivity
Joshua Kotin, Princeton University
Modernism and Aesthetic Difficulty: Reading Ezra Pound and J.H. Prynne in Chinese
Gayle Rogers, University of Pittsburgh
Modernist Failures and the Provocations of Scholarly Aesthetics: Ezra Pound and the American University
David James, University of London
Modernist Consolations: Elegies of Redress, from Conrad to McEwan
Hannah Freed-Thall, Brown University
Newspaper Modernism: Media Aesthetics from Proust to Woolf

Past Events 2014 - 15

Michaela Bronstein, Harvard University
Mirrors Can Only Lie: James, Baldwin, and the Afterlives of Character
Samuel Alexander, Endicott College
Middletown, U.S.A.: Social Science and Modernist Form in Dos Passos's Trilogy
Benjamin Kahan, Louisiana State University
Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, or Sex in the Age of Fordism
Christopher Grobe, Amherst College
On Book: The Performance of Reading from Poetry to Beckett to Gatz
Claire Seiler, American Academy of Arts and Sciences & Dickinson College
Suspending Modernism: Elizabeth Bishop and the Midcentury Problem
Catherine Kodat, University of the Arts
Modernist Dance and the Metapolitics of Cold War Culture

Past Events 2013 - 14

Susan Harris, University of Notre Dame
The Sunflower and the Soviets: Re-Reading Sean O’Casey’s Red Period, 1940-1964
John Lurz, Tufts University
Virginia Woolf's Material Modernism: Lingering with The Pages in Jacob's Room
David Sherman, Brandeis University
Varieties of Secular Experience in Hardy, Conrad, Woolf, and Beckett
Margaret Kelleher, University College Dublin
Bilingualism at the Bar: James Joyce’s Maamtrasna Revisited
Sanjay Krishnan, Boston University
Naipaul, Realism, and Styles of Modernity
Helen Vendler, Harvard University
Heaney and the Classics

Past Events 2012 - 13

Jed Esty, University of Pennsylvania
"Occidentalism Revisited: Conrad, Nabokov, and the Pornography of the West"
Gregory Castle, Arizona State University
"Modernism and Misrecognition: Yeats and the Temporalities of the Irish Revival"
Jonathan Foltz, Boston University
"Film as Silent Partner: Formalism / Modernism / Media History"
Hilary Schor, University of Southern California and Radcliffe Institute
"Modernist Temporality / Contemporary Cinema: Betrayal & the Filming of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Lisa Fluet, Holy Cross
"More on Raymond Chandler: Jameson, Again"
Hillary Chute, University of Chicago
"Fantastical Modernism: Time, Space, & Motion in the Comics of Winsor McCay"

Past Events 2011 - 12

Claire Connolly, University of Wales, Cardiff and O'Brien Visiting Scholar in Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University
"Via Holyhead: Modernism and Celticism between Ireland and Wales"
Liesl Olson, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and The Newberry Library
"Porkpackers and Poetry: Making Modernism in Chicago"
Jeanne Follansbee, Harvard University
“Anti-Fascism and the Politics of Aesthetic Experience in Richard Wright and Tillie Olsen”
Joseph Valente, University of Buffalo
"The Accidental Autist: Neurosensory Disorder in Conrad's *The Secret Agent*"
Lisa Siraganian, American Academy of Arts & Sciences and Southern Methodist University
“Wyndham Lewis, Virginia Woolf, and the Redness of the Real Red”
Stephen Regan, Durham University
"Naturalism and Impressionism at the Fin de Siècle: George Moore's Esther Waters"

Past Events 2010 - 11

Angela A. Ards, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
"Portrait of the Artist as a Black Girl: From Zora Neale Hurston to June Jordan's Afro-Modernist Autobiography"
Mark Morrisson, Pennsylvania State University
"Occult Surrealism: Ithell Colquhoun and the Celtic Fringe"
Marilyn Reizbaum, Bowdoin College
"Muriel Spark's Ridiculous Modernism"
Evan Horowitz, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
"Early Cinema and the Gothic: Frankenstein, Quasimodo, Dorian Gray, and Mr. Hyde"
Matthew Wilson Smith, Boston University
"The Nervous Stage: On the Twin Births of Neuroscience and Theatrical Modernism"
Nicholas Allen, National University of Ireland, Galway and Boston College
“Modernism, Ireland and the Americas: The Strange Case of Ernie O'Malley”