Modernism - EN689

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 30 (15) DR A Mildenberg




Not available as wild



This module features key modernist texts, for example the work of Ezra Pound, H.D., T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys. It also makes substantial reference to key philosophical theories of modernity and textuality. The literary works are taken mostly from a restricted period 1910-1930. One focus in the module will be the notion of the artist as applied to the writer as an art-practitioner. Other texts which might form part of the curriculum may include a limited selection of works by Mina Loy, Wyndham Lewis,, Elizabeth Bowen, F.T. Marinetti, Samuel Beckett, Georg Lukács, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Derrida and Paul De Man. Other topics include modes of representation, language and experience, colonialism and modernism, textuality and identity, war and democracy, class and politics, cosmopolitanism and bohemianism, sex, morality and city life. This material requires both theoretical and historical orientation, as well as skill in distilling significance from complex literary artefacts with regard to the network of mediations which both bind such works to their apparent context and appear to dislocate them.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

50% coursework: seminar performance (20%), 2 essays of 2,500 words each (40% each);
50% examination - 3-hour paper

Indicative reading

Rainey, L. (ed.), (2005). Modernism, An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Joyce, J. (1992). Ulysses. London: Penguin.
Woolf, V. (2014). The Waves. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rhys, J. (2000). Good Morning, Midnight. London: Penguin.
Stein, G. (1985). Picasso. New York: Dover Publications.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an understanding of modernist literary forms
2 Relate the set texts to their relevant literary, critical, and historical contexts
3 Apply and interrogate the wider historical narratives within which modernist texts were produced, and within which they have subsequently been commonly read, including theories of modernity and textuality
4 Demonstrate an understanding of the varying literary modes and techniques employed in modernist literature,
5 Be conversant with the seminal critical writing about this period and more recent re-evaluations.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Read literature and criticism critically, assessing different critical approaches and the arguments behind them.
2 Structure, develop, and sustain complex arguments, and select and use primary and secondary material
3 Present an argument orally, defend that argument, and use responses to refine their ideas
4 Demonstrate acquisition of appropriate skills as readers, writers and presenters.
5 Demonstrate capacity to make connections and comparisons across the range of their reading and the understanding they bring to it.
6 Exercise of confident powers of textual analysis and fluent critical argument, an effective command of written English, together with an appropriate range of critical vocabulary and an understanding of its application.
7 Understand how to interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and to weigh the importance of alternative perspectives.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.