ENGL 213 A: Modern And Postmodern Literature

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 10:50am - 1:00pm
SAV 141
Denise Grollmus
Denise Grollmus

Syllabus Description:



Instructor: Denise Grollmus

Class:  MTWTH, 10:50 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location:  Savery 141

OfficePadelford A-11-C


Office Hours:  TTH, 1:30-2:30 p.m., and by appointment

Class Canvas Site: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1145907


* For course readings (and a .doc of the syllabus), visit the MODULES page

* For all assignments (online discussions; passage analyses; exams; quizzes), visit the ASSIGNMENTS or MODULES page

* Visit ANNOUNCEMENTS for any other course updates, including revised homework assignments, due dates, or extra credit opportunities  



English 213 explores U.S. literary modernism and postmodernism as responses to distinct historical, political, social, and cultural contexts of the 20th century. The period witnessed two world wars—and the concomitant development of military technology that brought destruction on an unprecedented scale—economic depression; the refinement of mass production methods; continuing migration from rural to urban areas; civil and women’s rights movements; the development or proliferation of transportation, communication, entertainment and computer technologies; and the effects of globalization. Modern and postmodern literature reflects as well as shapes human perception of these phenomena. As we examine novels and poems of the era, we will focus on how artists experimented with language and form to represent the altered sense of history, space, time, and self engendered by modernity and postmodernity. 


Required Texts

You can buy all these novels on Amazon (click on links). It’s important that you purchase the same edition as shown in the links, otherwise it will be difficult for us to follow along when someone wants to draw our attention to a key passage on a particular page. All other readings can be found under Modules on Canvas.

You must have a UW Net ID, a working email account and a way to access the course Canvas site.  I will frequently upload course materials to Canvas, and you will submit class work using the platform's assignments and discussion features. You are encouraged to bring your laptops/tablets to class in order to refer to passage analyses, readings, and online discussion content.  


Goals and Methodology

Students in the course work toward several goals:

  • Analyzing the language, structure and themes of fictional texts,
  • Explaining the relationship between selected 20th-century literary texts and the political, social, historical and cultural contexts of their production,
  • Defining (and recognizing the limits of defining) literary modernism and postmodernism, and
  • Developing as critical thinkers who can formulate substantive arguments and explore those arguments with evidence.

English 213 is a hybrid course, with students engaging course materials and one another in both face-to-face and online settings. Expect to spend roughly six hours per week meeting face-to-face and two hours per week in online discussion. Course activities promote active learning, incorporating a blend of mini-lecture, discussion, student presentations, and individual as well as group work.  The course design—which includes frequent low-stakes writing assignments—reflects the importance of writing as a means of learning.  My role is to provide the tools and resources you will need to advance your own thinking.  I will pose questions, design activities to help you think through these questions, and respond to your ideas.  Your role is to do the hard work—the close reading, discussion, and writing.  You will analyze texts, present your interpretations via class discussion, presentations, and written assignments, and critically respond to others’ interpretations.


Coursework and Assessment 

Students are expected to complete all the readings for each class, to come prepared to discuss actively, and to turn in written work on time and according to assignment guidelines. The course will center on class discussions with readings playing a key role in establishing a thorough understanding of the material. Understanding the issues the readings raise will be key to success in the course. Furthermore, our class will only be as good as your participation in it.

Class Participation

Class discussion constitutes one key method of developing your analytical skills. Thus, I expect regular, active participation in discussions of texts.  You should prepare for each class session—whether in-person or online—by completing and composing notes on required readings.  During class discussions, students should plan to pose and respond to questions, comment on peers’ ideas, share their passage analysis homework, or contribute to small-group conversations.  Students should also expect me to call on them during face-to-face meetings, as I want everyone to earn full points for class participation.  Like all skills, participation becomes easier with practice.  I do not expect fully polished analyses in class discussion; rather, your contributions represent ideas for further development.

The wireless classroom and presence of student laptops in our in-person sessions present the temptation of email and the web; therefore, students must follow basic ground rules:

  • Students should switch off and stow their cell phones before class begins.
  • Students may use laptops to take notes and research questions posed in class discussion; however, they should not check email, electronically chat, update their social networking status or surf the web during class.

I will assess participation on a credit/no-credit basis; students who complete assigned discussion tasks and whose contributions demonstrate careful preparation and active engagement with course texts will receive full points. Lack of engagement in class activities, inadequate preparation, and failure to adhere to classroom rules will substantially lower your participation grade for the course.


Each student will develop a ten-minute presentation that applies an assigned short critical article by a course author or scholar of modernism/postmodernism to a reading discussed face-to-face. Presenters will also design and lead discussion of an activity based on the presentation.

Passage Analysis Homework

Students will use UW Google Docs to critically analyze assigned passages from selected course readings. The passage analysis homework allows us to pose interpretations for class discussions and develop ideas for quizzes and exams.  Your homework earns points on a credit/no credit basis, with full points granted to on-time work that meets the length requirement and exhibits serious engagement with the assignment prompt.


Students will complete weekly in-class quizzes on assigned readings. Quizzes will feature one- to two-sentence identifications and a short essay question. Four of the five quizzes given will count toward the final grade; the lowest score will be dropped. 

Take-Home Exams

Students will compose two take-home essay examinations. The first exam will cover modernist texts; the second will cover postmodernist works.


Apart from passage analysis homework and participation, which are graded on a credit/no credit basis, points for each assignment will be awarded based on quality of work submitted.  I will distribute grading criteria with all assignments.  Each component of the course is worth the following number of points. Note that your lowest quiz score will be dropped: 

  • Class Participation: 60 points
  • Exams: 160 points
  • Passage Analysis Homework: 80 points
  • Presentation: 40 points
  • Quizzes: 60 points

Grades in English 213 will be computed by points, with 400 points equaling a 4.0, 300 points a 3.0, and so on.  If your total falls between grades, I will round up if you score one to five points below the higher grade and round down if you score one to four points above the lower grade.  For example, 274 points equals a 2.7 and 275 points a 2.8.  Students who score less than 65 points total will receive a 0 for the course, as the UW grading system does not scale grades lower than 0.7.


Course Policies

Classroom Conduct

In accordance with the University’s Student Code of Conduct, your enrollment at UW is contingent upon the way you conduct yourself in a classroom setting. This means that you must respect the rights, privileges and property of others, and you must refrain from any behavior that would disrupt or interfere with our class. Disruptive behavior is any behavior that distracts others and disrupts their learning environment or threatens their sense of safety. If someone engages in disruptive behavior, they will receive a warning. If that warning is not heeded, then the student may be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, which may result in one’s removal from the class. Most importantly, I have a zero tolerance rule for hate speech. According to the American Bar Association, hate speech is “any speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.” Hate speech is grounds for dismissal from my classroom not only because it is violent, threatening, and harassing in nature, but also because it violates the purpose and framework of this course, which is anti-racist in nature. Hate speech of any kind is, therefore, considered a violent disruption and/or interference with the class itself. Furthermore, I encourage anyone who feels threatened or intimidated by another student in this class to come directly to me so that I can handle the situation accordingly.

Lateness Policy

Since passage analysis homework directly informs class discussion, I will not allow late submission of these assignments, nor will I accept late online participation. Moreover, students must give their presentations and take quizzes on the scheduled dates.  Late take-home midterm and final exams will receive a 10-point deduction per day late, including weekends and holidays. I will make exceptions to the lateness policy only in cases of documented illness or family emergency. 

Technology glitches do not constitute valid excuses for lateness.  To avoid computer problems, you should save frequently while working and you should back up work saved to a hard drive on a USB drive or an online file archive (Dropbox, iCloud, your personal file space on Canvas). If Canvas breaks down, email your work directly to me.

Plagiarism Policy

English 213 adheres to the University of Washington’s policies on academic integrity, which prohibit unacknowledged use of another’s words or ideas. When you draw upon sources in your passage analysis homework, online discussion contributions, presentation, or exams, make clear to your audience that you are incorporating others’ work by placing quotation marks around exact words and noting the author’s name whenever you quote, summarize or paraphrase. Failure to credit sources may result in a failing grade for the assignment, a failing grade for the course, or other disciplinary action by the university’s Committee on Academic Conduct.  The course links page contains information on when and how to cite sources. We will use MLA format, which requires in-text parenthetical citations and a list of works cited.


University Policies and Resources

Academic Integrity Clause

Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review. 

Complaints Clause

If you have any concerns about the course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Colette Moore, at cvmoore@uw.edu. 


If you need accommodation of any sort, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/.

Campus Safety

Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone.

–Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.

–Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.

–Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).

–Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert.

For more information visit the Safe Campus website at www.washington.edu/safecampus.


This schedule may be altered at any point in the term at the instructor’s discretion.  Students must complete assigned readings before attending class or beginning online activities. Quizzes will be given in class; homework, discussion postings, and exams are due via Canvas by the dates/times listed. “ER” denotes a reading available on our Canvas site. “F2F” indicates a face-to-face class meeting, while “Online” indicates online course activities.

*******COURSE SCHEDULE*********









Introduction to course

“Close Reading of Literature” (ER; read in class with poem)




Discuss History of Modernism and “The Waste Land”

Practice quiz

“Modernism and Modernist Literature: Introduction and Background” (ER)

T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land” (ER)


Passage analysis homework on “The Waste Land” due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas



Discuss Manifestos and Modernism

“The Poetics of the Manifesto” (ER)

“Modernist Manifestos” From the Norton Anthology (ER)

Complete online discussion posting on Modernist Manifestos by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas



Literary Modernisms

Quiz 1

Peers’ online discussion postings




Discuss “The Good Anna”

Stein, “The Good Anna,” in Three Lives, 3-36 (ER)

Complete online discussion posting on “The Good Anna” by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas



Discuss Stein

Peers’ online discussion postings




Discuss Stein

Stein, “Melanctha,” in Three Lives, 37-97 (ER)



Passage analysis homework on “Melanctha” due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas 



Discuss The Sun Also Rises

Quiz 2

Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, epigraph and chapters 1-7

- Read chapters 1-4 for class; 5-7 for homework/passage analysis

Passage analysis homework on The Sun Also Rises due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas




Reading Due




Discuss The Sun Also Rises

Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, chapters 8-12

Complete online discussion posting on The Sun Also Rises by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas





NO CLASS: Fourth of July

NO CLASS: Fourth of July



Finish Discussing The Sun Also Rises;

Holly Presentation

Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, chapters 13-19

Peers’ online discussion postings





Discuss Ceremony and literary postmodernism

Quiz 3

Silko, Ceremony, “Preface” and 1-58

Passage analysis homework on Ceremony due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas 



Take-home midterm due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas









  Discuss Ceremony


Silko, Ceremony, 59-120 

Complete online discussion posting on Ceremony by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas



Discuss Ceremony



Peers’ online discussion postings




Discuss Ceremony

Quiz 4

Silko, Ceremony,121-201


Passage analysis on Ceremony due by 10 p.m. via Canvas 



Deanna Presentation 

Discuss Ceremony


Ceremony, 201 to end



Passage analysis homework on The Tropic of Orange (1-86) due by 10:00 p.m. Saturday via Canvas

For reading: Try to read 44 pages of Tropic a night








Discuss The Tropic of Orange

Yamashita, The Tropic of Orange, Chapters 1-21 (1-134)


Complete online discussion posting on The Tropic of Orange by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas



Discuss The Tropic of Orange

Quiz 5

Yamashita, The Tropic of Orange, Chapters 22-35 (137-207)

Peers’ online discussion postings

Passage analysis homework on The Tropic of Orange due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas 



Course evaluation

Chandler Presentation 

Discuss The Tropic of Orange and approaches to take-home final

Yamashita, The Tropic of Orange, Chapters 36-49 (211-end)


Passage analysis homework on The Tropic of Orange due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas




Take-home final due by 10:00 p.m. via Canvas



Catalog Description: 
Introduces twentieth-century literature and contemporary literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments since 1900.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 10:20pm