FRE 454/554 The Origins of the 20th Century (3)

In the first years of the 20th century, Paris became a focal point and meeting place for various avant-garde artistic movements such as dada, cubism, and surrealism, many of which were born under the shadow of the First World War. With the rise of modernist urbanism, the city itself became a testing ground for ideas and ideologies that attempted to reenvision human nature. By the thirties, these totalizing visions of a human future largely divided between communism and fascism, and Paris, as a capital of ideas and immigration, became the battleground for competing, militant images of humanity. At the same time, the capital gazed out past the borders of France itself over an extensive colonial empire that returned vast riches at the cost of terrible moral and humanitarian injustices. This course will examine literary and other cultural works from this turbulent period to better understand the scope, meaning, and stakes of the French twentieth century. CAS-B.

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