This Writing II course focuses on the period in Scandinavian literature and the arts known as “The Modern Breakthrough” of the 1880s and 1890s. In the wake of Darwin, Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Zola, and other European iconoclasts, Scandinavian writers and artists embraced naturalism and scientific discourses, questioned religious and social dogmas, engaged in fierce debates about women’s rights and morality questions, while relentlessly putting society under a critical lens. Not only were these radical artists important and influential in Scandinavia, Europe, and beyond in their own epoch but more than a century later their works still powerfully resonate with us. Course works include short fiction by Victoria Benedictsson, Anne-Charlotte Leffler, and Herman Bang; Amalie Skram’s novel Lucie; Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler and Strindberg’s drama Miss Julie; the lyrical prose of Knut Hamsun, and the expressionist paintings and prints of Edvard Munch.
Course taught in English.