Literary Modernism has often been characterized as an inward turn: as a growing preoccupation with the workings of consciousness; the nature of subjective experience; and the constitution and definition of the self. In this introductory course, we will examine notions of selfhood in modernist literature, discussing topics such as the nature of consciousness, the unconscious and psychic conflict, subjective perceptions of time, and changing understandings of the definition of reality. We will contextualize our close readings in contemporary psychological and scientific research, theories of language, the rise of urbanism and cosmopolitanism, and technological advancements. Through writing and active class discussions, students will learn the tools of literary analysis and the skills necessary to organize their observations into cogent analytical arguments.
- The fundamentals of narrative analysis: perspective/narration, imagery, structure, style, and tone
- The fundamentals of analytical essay writing
- Modernist interpretations and explorations of consciousness, language, identity, social relations, political relations, gender relations, time and reality
- Confident ability to write an analytical essay
- Solid understanding of all of the tools of literary analysis
- Effective organization of ideas and ability to build cogent written and oral arguments
- Fluently conversant in the major ideas and predominant literary conventions of the Modernist period
The class will meet for lecture, general discussion, and group workshops on Wednesdays from 9:30 to 12:20pm. Tutorial group will meet in the third hour. Tutorial sessions will begin in the second week of the semester. We will focus on difficult ideas and concepts in lectures as well as essay writing and literary analytical skills in these tutorial sessions. Writing tasks based on the tutorial sessions will be assigned to reinforce skills learned and to identify areas of struggle.
Assessment is by 100% coursework, consisting of:
10% class work: attendance, evidence of preparation, class participation, tutorial participation, evidence of intellectual curiosity
20% short essay
20% tutorial presentation
50% final essay
E. M. Forster, “The Machine Stops” (1909)
Katherine Mansfield, “The Garden Party” (1922)
T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915)
Virginia Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall” (1917)
Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction” (1919)
Students are expected to arrive on time. Please turn your mobile phone to silent during the lecture. You are welcome to take notes on your computer but please do not use it for other purposes – it’s distracting for everyone. Thoughtful and active participation is expected during class discussions and small group workshops.
We will use tutorials as an opportunity to clarify any concepts that need more attention and to focus on the logical articulation of ideas. Full attendance and participation are expected.
I will post all relevant information and supplementary readings for the course on Moodle. Please check it regularly.
Plagiarism is “the unacknowledged use, as one’s own, of the work of another person, whether or not such work has been published.” (Regulations Governing Conduct at Examinations). You cannot use another scholar’s words or ideas or examples without giving them attribution. If you are caught plagiarizing, you will receive an F for that assignment and may well receive an F for the class. You are also liable to disciplinary action by the Faculty of Arts. It is a serious offense and will be treated seriously. For more information, please see: