ENGL 540 A: Modern Literature

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
THO 217
Jessica Burstein
Jessica Burstein

Syllabus Description:

Introduction to British Modernism

This course does five things: orient the student with an overview of British modernism, 1900-1930s; provide a general background for modernity torqued toward aesthetics; engage some current critical conversations in the field of literary modernism; allow focus on the work of particular authors; and immerse the student in the brass-tacks world of writing a book review and research paper.

Loosely organized around two rubrics, minds and matter, the course engages embodiment and materiality, with particular attention to the status of mind or mindedness on the one hand and the modernist object on the other.

Texts include prose (Conrad, Ford, West, Waugh, a teensy bit of Woolf), poetry (Loy, Pound, Eliot), and some manifestos.

Students will write a 1,000 word book review of a critical monograph published 2014-16 (chosen by you but approved by me); and a 20 page final research paper. Students are encouraged to start looking now at advertisements for forthcoming/new books in journals like Modernism/modernity or Critical Inquiry (in both cases see the "Books of Critical Interest" sections), Modernist Cultures; Affirmations: of the modern, Journal of Modern Periodical Studies; Amodern; The Space In Between; or more mainstream journals like the LRB or TLS for books of interest to them in the field—email me for advance approval: jb2@uw.edu

Suggested pre-class reading: A canter through Levenson's The Genealogy of Modernism for theoretical grounding—as in (a wonderfully lucid account of) the philosophy that the modernists were reading—and Ekstein's Rites of Spring for event.

 Texts are likely to be:

  1. Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (Oxford World Classics; Oxford University Press) ISBN: 0192834770
  2. Ezra Pound, Selected Poems (New Directions, ISBN 0-811-201-627)
  3. Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (1927) Ed. Martin Stannard. (2nd edition; Norton Critical Ed.) ISBN-10: 039392792X; ISBN-13: 978-0393927924
  4. T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Writings, ed. Mary Karr Modern Library Classics, ISBN: 0375759344
  5. Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier (1918) Penguin USA (Paper); ISBN: 014118065X
  6. Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-52507-2)
  7. Evelyn Waugh A Handful of Dust (Back Bay Books) ISBN-10: 0316216267
Last updated: 
March 21, 2016 - 9:08am