ONLINE SEMINAR
July 27 | Self on the Line: The Multimedia Psyche of the Jazz Age

Brand-new, frenetic, dangerous, and tragic, the Jazz Age was much more than just music syncopating or pictures moving or voices broadcast around the world. Like today, it was a time of widespread disruption, conflict and disease — with both the fear and the embracing of new technologies and conventions. Narratives, art and psyches fractured by societal change had to be reassembled in new forms, with previously undreamed-of modes of communication calling, in turn, for original ways to present the self through art.

This seminar will explore the intersections between five modern artists’ experiments in form and content, their cultural milieu, and the psychological tensions of their personal histories as used directly in their work. The poetic inventions of E.E. Cummings, the unique Krazy Kat comics of George Herriman, the fictional/ poetic worlds of Jean Toomer and Mina Loy, and the film creations of Mack Sennett share a willingness to bend to breaking traditional forms in order to create personal connection and meaning.

When: Six weekly seminars on Monday evenings, beginning July 27th, at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Duration: 2  hours per session plus email support as described above

Cost: C$350 plus 13% HST (approx. US$250 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We will be using Zoom online meeting software; you will receive instructions on how to download Zoom free upon registration. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable. Select your registration below; please use the Toronto Pursuits credit option only if you are a registered participant of Toronto Pursuits 2020 who wants to put your deposit or previous payment toward an online seminar.

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Description

LEADER

Denise Ahlquist is fascinated with “that precision which creates movement,” as E.E. Cummings put it — with stories, language and the endless permutations of human creativity. A lifelong reader who also enjoys film and music, visual art, dance and the natural world, Denise is endlessly curious and loves to learn. Her undergraduate, MA and PhD work concentrated in 20th-century English literature, women’s studies and literary theory. As senior academic consultant with the Great Books Foundation, Denise has had the opportunity to learn with an amazing diversity of people from ages 5-95, both in person and online. She can’t wait to hear how others react to and interpret these initially controversial yet profoundly influential multimedia creations.

SEMINAR MATERIALS

George Herriman Library: Krazy and Ignatz 1916-1918
(Fantagraphics, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-1683962557

Is 5, by E.E. Cummings
(Liveright, 1996)
ISBN-13: 978-0871401649

 Cane, by Jean Toomer
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2nd Revised edition, 2011)
ISBN: 9780393931686

Insel, by Mina Loy
(Melville House, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1612193533

selected short films of Mack Sennett

Details and links to online sources will be provided on registration, and selected films and shots will be screened during the seminars.

Krazy! Cool! Brand-new, frenetic, dangerous, and tragic, the Jazz Age was much more than just music syncopating or pictures moving or voices broadcast around the world. Like today, it was a time of widespread disruption, conflict and disease — with both the fear and the embracing of new technologies and conventions. Narratives, art and psyches fractured by societal change had to be reassembled in new forms, with previously undreamed-of modes of communication calling, in turn, for original ways to present the self through art. Do we become different people when our world changes so dramatically? Doesn’t our art have to be different as well?

This seminar will explore the intersections between five modern artists’ experiments in form and content, their cultural milieu, and the psychological tensions of their personal histories as used directly in their work. The poetic inventions of E.E. Cummings, the unique Krazy Kat comics of George Herriman, the fictional/ poetic worlds of Jean Toomer and Mina Loy, and the film creations of Mack Sennett share a willingness to bend to breaking traditional forms in order to create personal connection and meaning. Their works embodied a turning point into American modernism. The reading load will be relatively light, and while serious questions of art, the artist, and their times will be our main focus, the dynamism of these multimedia works and their relevance to today should make for an extraordinary on-line seminar experience. Yezza!

It’s everything you love about learning with Classical Pursuits — consistent focus on the text, emphasis on exploring meaning together, and a leader who asks questions to get you thinking — in virtual form.

Seminar structure

While links between works and common themes will be addressed in every seminar, each week we will explore selections by a different artist working in a different media:  E.E. Cummings (poetry), George Herriman (the unique Krazy Kat comic strips), Jean Toomer (his multi-threaded short novel Cane), Mina Loy (the American expatriate and her novella Insel), and Canadian-American Mack Sennett (comedy in film). Participants are encouraged to carefully read or view the selected texts in advance and detailed recommendations will be provided to aid preparation. Sessions will consist mainly of Shared Inquiry discussions of the selected works, with some framing questions and background information provided throughout as needed.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

Additional information

Choose registration type

Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit

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