This course will explore the 20th century as a site of modernity. We will look at a range of texts to examine what the modern might mean, and how writers have addressed issues of modernity and its impact on society, human relations, and ways of life. We will pay special attention to representations of the city, innovative depictions of sense experience, the changing roles of men and women, and the consequences of the First World War.
Below are a few of the topics we will cover in this course:
- Science, technology, and modern life
- Gender and interpersonal relations
- Modernism, art, and taste
- Tradition, individuality, and self-knowledge
The course will provide students with a critical framework for close-reading literary texts from the 20th century. It also aims to help students develop a better understanding of the relationship between literature and history. Students will engage with questions of what is modernity and modern writing and explore the ways in which writers both conceived of and negotiated with the modern.
There will be a two-hour lecture and 1-hour tutorial sessions each week. Tutorial sessions will begin in the second week of the semester. For the tutorial, the class will be broken up into two groups (Group A and B). Please take note of which group you are in and show up at the right venue and in the right week. There will be no swapping of groups. If you do not attend your assigned tutorial you will be marked as absent.
20% Participation in tutorials will include attendance, speaking up during discussions, brief presentations, and contributing to a positive learning environment
35% Mid-term test
45% End-of-term test
Here is a sampling of texts that this course will cover. Please attend the first lecture for more details.
H. G. Wells, “The New Accelerator” (1901)
Excerpts from George Bernard Shaw, “The Sanity of Art” (1908)
James Joyce, “A Painful Case” (1914)
Selected pieces from Wyndham Lewis, BLAST (1914)
Mina Loy, “Feminist Manifesto” (1914)
Rebecca West, “Indissoluble Matrimony” (1914)
T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915)
D. H. Lawrence, “Tickets, Please” (1918)
T. S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1919)
Excerpts from T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land” (1922)
Virginia Woolf, “Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street” (1923)
Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1973)