Modern Literature I

ENGL3025

Course Convenor:  Dr. Michael Sayeau


The period 1900-1945 saw the emergence of 'Modernism', a difficult, self-consciously experimental literature which has been regarded as characteristic, in its fragmentariness and its rejection of precedent, of our era.

The course aims to provide the student with a critical and historical understanding of the origins and development of Modernism, with particular reference to its major exponents (e.g. Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Pound, Hemingway, Faulkner). There is a special emphasis on Modernist explorations of gender (eg. Cather, Richardson, Mansfield, Lawrence), on writers (e.g. Wilde, James, Conrad, Pound, Stein) who combined thematic with formal innovation, and on new genres (e.g. polemical drama, the short story and, of course, film). Students are encouraged to investigate the Anglo-American dimension of Modernism (e.g. Americans in Paris), and such contexts as the First and Second World Wars. Throughout the course, lectures establish the main terms of analysis and provide background knowledge, while seminars concentrate on particular writers and movements.

By the end of the course, students should have developed:

  • A familiarity with the richness and variety of literature of the period.
  • A detailed knowledge of some of the most important writers of the period.
  • An understanding of some of the most important contexts that inform that writing.

Examination is by means of a 3-hour written paper, or by Course Essay, if preferred and if no other Course Essay is being submitted by the candidate in that year.