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Course Description

The course will consist of four sessions, each of which are designed to provide some context about this creative period, suggest connections to other relevant topics, and offer an opportunity for discussion. The core of this Part Four of the sequence of Paris–NY OLLI courses will focus on the novel Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos. The first class will be a broad introduction addressing several of the significant connections between these cities, and the factors that intensified the expressions of creativity in those crisis years between the great world wars. The second class will introduce the the novel and its context. The third class will take us to Paris and the idea of Modernism, especially in photography. The fourth class will give us the opportunity to discuss reactions to the novel and its anticipation of modernist techniques, especially visual ones. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO TAKE THE PARIS-NY PARTS IN SEQUENCE. Manhattan Transfer was considered controversial in both form and content. Reading it all is not necessary to appreciate its role in the course. But it is amazing. We will make references to the novel in all four sessions. Dos Passos was one of the important ex-patriot writers, who, like Hemingway, was an ambulance driver during the war. He spent time in France as a child, and then hung out with Fitzgerald and others in Paris and the south of France in the twenties and thirties. He was bitter about the way the patriotism of the young had been manipulated.
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