ENGL 336 A: English Literature: Early Twentieth Century

Modernist Bodies

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
CDH 110B
Jessica Burstein
Jessica Burstein

Additional Details:

Jessica Burstein

Course description 336A Winter 2016

Modernist Bodies

            Can you have a body without having a mind—or vice versa—and if so, which is preferable? Modernism wrestled with such issues by experimenting with narrative form, depiction of character, and fracturing syntax as it sought to grapple with the pressures and liberatory effects of the new. In paying attention to different kinds of embodiment, the role of the New Woman and sexuality, the impact of World War One, and the urban moment, we will focus on new, stimulating, and traumatic effects on the body.

            This course serves as a survey to British modernism and examines some known and less known modernist authors. Our focus will be fiction, but we’ll pick up some poetry and manifestoes along the way. The emphasis will be on historical interpretation grounded in formal analysis, with specific emphasis on close reading. Authors include Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Loy, Eliot, Lawrence, Rebecca West, and Evelyn Waugh.

            Active participation is mandatory: subsequent to introductory lectures, we will use discussion as a means of exploring the material. Therefore as we explore the stakes of embodiment, your own body—and presumably your mind or a viable facsimile thereof—must be in the classroom. Students will be responsible for two formal papers and a series of intelligent and interesting response papers employing and improving close reading skills.


Texts are likely to include these editions

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 4th ed., Norton Critical Edition ISBN-13: 978-0393926361

James Joyce, Dubliners W. W. Norton, ed. Norris, ISBN-13: 978-0393978513

Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Harcourt Brace Jovanovich ISBN-13: 978-0156457422

T. S. Eliot, Selected Poems, Harcourt ISBN-13: 978-0156806473

D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love Viking Penguin, ISBN-13: 978-0141441542

Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN-13: 978-0374525071

Rebecca West, Return of the Soldier ISBN-13: 978-0141180656

Evelyn Waugh A Handful of Dust, Back Bay Books, ISBN-13: 978-0316216265

Catalog Description: 
Explores fiction, poetry, and drama in English from the period of 1900-1945. Considers the literature in socio-historical context. Modernism, realism, imperialism, and questions f nationality may be foregrounded.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
March 21, 2016 - 9:08am