LT248-5-AU-CO:
Modernism

The details
2020/21
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Autumn
Undergraduate: Level 5
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
15
05 June 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

MLITQ391 Literature,
BA QRF9 Literature and Modern Languages,
BA LQ32 Literature and Sociology,
BA LQ33 Literature and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA QL23 Literature and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA Q2R9 Literature with Modern Languages

Module description

This module offers a varied, wide-ranging introduction to the literature of the modernist period, beginning in the late nineteenth century and extending through to the early 1950s. Modernist literature is defined by its emphasis on innovation and experimentation in both form and content.

Modernist authors wrote from out of a widespread sense that the world they inhabited was undergoing profound and unprecedented change, and that literature would need to adapt to the unique circumstances of the early twentieth century if it was to continue to speak to modern readers. One way in which they did this was to write on subjects which had been neglected or ignored by previous generations of writers, or which had been considered unsuitable for treatment in high culture.

Another modernist strategy was to create entirely new literary styles and modes of expression, often characterised by striking departures from familiar patterns of language use. By the 1950s, it was clear to most observers that the literature of the preceding decades represented a pivotal event in the history of literature – one which scholars, critics, and readers are still coming to terms with today.

This module includes examples of each of the various genres in which modernist authors worked – short stories, novellas, novels, plays, and poems of varying lengths – and draws on an array of national and cultural traditions, including work by authors of British, Irish, Czech, New Zealand, Indian, and U.S. origin. Among the main issues and themes with which the modernists were concerned, the module addresses the alienation and fragmentation of modern society, the angst of the lone individual, empire and imperialism, nationhood and nationalism, the phenomenon of the 'death of God', the changing status of the figure of the artist, a spirit of radical experimentalism in the arts, shifts in gender relations, the emergence of a nascent queer consciousness, economic and financial upheavals, two devastating world wars, and the impact of new technologies and social structures.

Module aims

This module offers a varied, wide-ranging introduction to the literature of the modernist period, beginning in the late nineteenth century and extending through to the early 1950s. Modernist literature is defined by its emphasis on innovation and experimentation in both form and content. Modernist authors wrote from out of a widespread sense that the world they inhabited was undergoing profound and unprecedented change, and that literature would need to adapt to the unique circumstances of the early twentieth century if it was to continue to speak to modern readers. One way in which they did this was to write on subjects which had been neglected or ignored by previous generations of writers, or which had been considered unsuitable for treatment in high culture. Another modernist strategy was to create entirely new literary styles and modes of expression, often characterised by striking departures from familiar patterns of language use. By the 1950s, it was clear to most observers that the literature of the preceding decades represented a pivotal event in the history of literature – one which scholars, critics, and readers are still coming to terms with today.

This module includes examples of each of the various genres in which modernist authors worked – short stories, novellas, novels, plays, and poems of varying lengths – and draws on an array of national and cultural traditions, including work by authors of British, Irish, Czech, New Zealand, Indian, and U.S. origin. Among the main issues and themes with which the modernists were concerned, the module addresses the alienation and fragmentation of modern society, the angst of the lone individual, empire and imperialism, nationhood and nationalism, the phenomenon of the ‘death of God’, the changing status of the figure of the artist, a spirit of radical experimentalism in the arts, shifts in gender relations, the emergence of a nascent queer consciousness, economic and financial upheavals, two devastating world wars, and the impact of new technologies and social structures.

Module learning outcomes

After successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
1. display a detailed knowledge of a representative range of key modernist authors and texts;
2. demonstrate an awareness of the cultural and historical context in which modernist literature emerged;
3. evaluate and theorize the immediate impact and longer-term implications of modernism for modern culture;
4. demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to engage in intellectual debates around modernist literature;
5. plan, research, and write a critical essay.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Anticipated teaching delivery for 2020-21: Weekly 2-hour class We will offer a mixture of tailored online, digital, and campus-based teaching where it may be possible and as appropriate, along with personalised one-to-one consultation with academic staff.

Bibliography*

  • Kafka, Franz. (no date) The Trial, London: Penguin.
  • Mansfield, Katherine. (no date) The Garden Party and Other Stories, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
  • Barnes, Djuna. (no date) Nightwood, London: Faber and Faber. vol. 13
  • H. D. (1973) Trilogy: The walls do not fall, Tribute to the angels, The flowering of the rod, New York: New Directions.
  • Woolf, Virginia; Bradshaw, David. (no date) To the Lighthouse, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Eliot, T.S. (no date) The Waste Land and Other Poems, London: Faber and Faber.
  • Thurman, Wallace. (2013) Infants of the Spring, Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
  • Tagore, Rabindranath; Radice, William. (2005) Selected poems, London: Penguin Books.
  • Beckett, Samuel. (no date) Waiting for Godot, London: Faber and Faber.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay (2,500 words)    80% 
Coursework   Online Portfolio    15% 
Practical   Participation    5% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sean Seeger, email: saseeg@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Sean Seeger
LiFTS General Office – email liftstt@essex.ac.uk Tel 01206 87 2626

 

Availability
Yes
No
Yes

External examiner

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
University of Chichester
Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 20 (90.9%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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