Modernism and Paris - EN904

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 7 30 (15) DR D Ryan checkmark-circle


'Modernism and Paris' provides students with an opportunity to study a selection of texts from the UK, USA and mainland Europe, all readily available in English and specifically relevant to both Paris and modernism. The texts are all either inspired by, set in, or refer significantly to Paris and most were written in the city. They seek new and experimental literary expressions for the experience of modern city life and demonstrate a range of literary forms, including the novel, poetry, manifestos, essays and biography. In exploring the cultural contexts as well as avant-garde politics and aesthetics of modernism, the module presents texts by major authors of different nationalities, chronologically ordered, allowing students to appreciate the beginnings and development of modernism from the late 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century. It recognises the importance of modernist cross-fertilisation between literature and the visual arts and encourages students to explore links between modernist literature and the development of, for example, cubism and surrealism. The primary materials are Paris-focused but are chosen to open an international perspective on literary culture and history.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300


This module is only available to students studying in Paris in the spring term

Method of assessment

Critical/Creative Assignment (1,000 words) – 20%
Essay (4,000 words) – 80%

Indicative reading

Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually

Any edition of the following:

Primary Texts :
Louis Aragon, Paris Peasant
Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
Elizabeth Bowen, The House in Paris
Andre Breton, Nadja
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories
Jean Rhys, Quartet and Good Morning, Midnight
Philippe Soupault, Last Nights of Paris
Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons and Picasso

Textbook: Vassiliki Kolocotroni, Jane Goldman, Olga Taxidou (eds), Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a wide-ranging knowledge of modernist literature as it relates to Paris and several aesthetic and critical contexts;

2 Demonstrate an advanced ability to relate literary works from this period to relevant political, cultural, artistic, historical and philosophical contexts;

3 Demonstrate a sophisticated range of analytic skills in approaching modernist texts, including close textual analysis;

4 Demonstrate an ability to understand theories of modernism and modernity

5 Apply sophisticated close reading techniques to a range of literary texts and forms and to make productive and complex comparisons between them;

6 Show an increased capacity for self-directed research and the ability to discuss, evaluate and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives making use of appropriate scholarly sources;

7 Frame and identify appropriate research questions and construct original, clear and well-substantiated arguments.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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