The British novelist, Virginia Woolf, once commented that “On or about December 1910 human nature changed.” We will begin this course with Howards End, a novel published that same year, and investigate what Woolf meant by such a declaration, and why it is relevant to the development of literary modernism and postmodernism during the twentieth century. We will read novels and short stories by British authors and consider them in relation to the major social, technological, and cultural changes in Britain during this period. The reading list for this course includes texts that are well known for their complexity, daring and innovation. You may find that you need to read some of them more than once in order to grasp their multi-layered structures of meaning.
Texts: E. M. Forster, Howards End; Katherine Mansfield, Selected Short Stories; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Ian McEwan; Saturday; Zadie Smith, On Beauty.