Independent Reading – Modern Literature

Independent Reading – Modern Literature    

ANNOUNCEMENT: Because of the length of The Fountainhead, independent reading for quarter 3 has been replaced by this novel.

Overview        

Independent reading is one of the best methods available to explore texts you personally choose. Each unit in our modern literature course will require some degree of independent reading (although in at least one case, that “reading” may consist of watching a film or filmed play). You may be asked to do any of the following:              

  • Respond to a significant quotation from the work
  • Compare the work to one we have read or are reading in class.
  •  State the author’s point and support it with evidence
  •   Discuss how a randomly-chosen scene relates to the larger point of the work
  •   Discuss the relationship between a work and its era.

 Selections containing adult content have been indicated. Please feel free to choose another option if you or your family objects to adult content. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS. Provided that you get my official “Yeah, sure” before you begin, alternative selections are fine. If I can find free links to the plays online, I’ve linked you.  I’ve also tried to recommend film versions of any plays.    Oh, and yeah, I know I’ve listed several works under different categories.  Thanks for noticing.      

Independent Reading 1 – Introduction to Modernism
Independent Reading 2 – Motifs in Modern Literature: Alienation

NOTE: Please choose ONE work.

  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion (NOTE: This is a play, so I highly recommend you watch it on film; however, the ending of the filmed versions is different from the ending in the original play.  Please be advised!)
  •  Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850) 
  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925)
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961). NOTE: This work contains adult content.  Please be advised.
  • Albert Camus, The Stranger (1943)
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1947). Note: This work contains adult content.  Please be advised.  Also, please note that this book is NOT the one written by H.G. Wells.
Independent Reading 3

ANNOUNCEMENT: Because of the length of The Fountainhead, independent reading for quarter 3 has been replaced by this novel.

Note: Choose ONE work from either of the two groups: War is Peace OR Fictional Reality.  You will be reading one book, total.

 War is Peace 
  • Homer, The Iliad (8th century B.C.) — I recommend the translation by Stanley Lombardo.
  • Earnest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961). Note: This work contains adult content.  Please be advised.
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).  Note: This work contains adult content. Please be advised.
  • Tim O’ Brien, The Things They Carried (1990).  Note: This work contains adult content.  Please be advised.

Fictional “Reality”  

  • Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925)
  • Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962).  Please note that this work contains adult content, as does the 1975 film.
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).  Note: This work contains adult content. Please be advised.
  • Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club (1996).  Note: This work contains substantial adult content.  Please be advised.
Independent Reading 4 –  Dystopia 

NOTE: Please choose ONE work.

  • Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange.  NOTE: This work contains substantial adult content.  Please be advised. 
  • Ayn Rand, Atlas ShruggedNOTE: This work contains some relatively mild adult content.  Please be advised. 
  • H. G. Wells, The Time Machine.
  • Margaret Atwood, A Handmaid’s TaleNote: This work contains some substantial adult content.  Please be advised.
Independent Reading 5 – Modern Drama 

NOTE: Please choose ONE work.

NOTE: For this subgroup, not only do I NOT have a problem with your watching a filmed version of these plays, I highly encourage it.  Drama was meant to be seen.  If I couldn’t find a filmed version or something on DVD or Netflix, I didn’t recommend it, although if you would like to read the play and not see a filmed version of it, I don’t really have a problem with that, except I think you’re going to miss out on the full experience.  PLEASE BRING IN THE PLAY, THOUGH, FOR THE INDEPENDENT READING…THAT IS, UNLESS YOU HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY.  IF SO, THAT IS REALLY QUITE COOL.  

Independent Reading 6 – Redemption

NOTE: Please choose ONE work.  I realize that all of the works recommended here have adult content.  You may choose another work from this page to read if those below are not acceptable.

  •  Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork OrangeNote: This work contains substantial adult content.  Please be advised.
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement  (2001). Note: This work contains adult content.  Please be advised.
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006).  Note: This work contains adult content.  Please be advised.
Independent Reading 7 

 Choose ONE from among the groups below:  Stream of Consciousness, Individual v. Collective, Metafiction, or Modernism in Film and Television.  Note: You will be reading one work, total.

Stream of Consciousness  

  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
  • Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse (1927)

Individual vs. Collective   

  • Yevgeny Zamyatin, We. Note: This work contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences.
  • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.  NOTE: This work contains some relatively mild adult content.  Please be advised. 

Metafiction

  • Laurence Sterne, Tristam Shandy (1759).  Note: I will also accept your seeing the very different 2005 film of the same name.  Please be aware that both the book and the film contain some adult content.  The film is rated R.
  • Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose (1980).  Note: This work contains some adult content, not much.  NOTE 2: The film is not a good substitute for the book, but it is not a bad place to begin.  Please do NOT substitute watching the film for reading the book.

Modernism in Film and Television 

 Note: There are so many outstanding examples of film and television illustrating the major motifs of this course that this represents only a small sample.  I have tried to pick examples corresponding to each of our motifs.  Please feel free to make suggestions. 

NOTE: I have put the television series options on this list because they are up-to-the-minute examples of how modernism has influenced our culture into today.  However, I do realize that an entire series spanning several seasons represents many hours’ worth of viewing time.  If you have already watched these series and are already an enthusiast of these works, they are open to you to use.  If you have not, you’re obviously not required to watch them and do have other choices.  If you’re in a “twilight zone” ;-D category between “already a fan” and “thinking about it,” all that I ask is that you watch enough of the television series to be able to give specific, focused examples answering how and why this series reflects some of the main issues, themes, and focuses of modernism.  Just exactly how many hours this represents would truly be a matter for individual concern, although I would recommend at least two to three episodes as a bare minimum.

Choose ONE work — one film or one series.

  • Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo (1958).
  • Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
  •  Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now (1979).  Note: I highly advise you to this movie if you have previously read Heart of DarknessThis film is rated R.
  • Ridley Scott, Blade Runner (1982).  This film is rated R.
  • Andrew and Lana (Larry) Wachowski, The Matrix (1999).  This film is rated R.
  • Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone (TV series from 1959-1964).
  • David Chase, The Sopranos (TV series from 1999-2007).  Note: This series contains substantial adult content.  Please be advised.
  • J.J. Abrams, Lost (TV series from 2004-2010).  Note: This series contains some mild adult content.  Please be advised.
 
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