Modernism and Modernity: Literature 1900-1960 (EAS2103)

StaffDr John Bolin - Lecturer
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

As well as studying literary texts in depth, this module aims to strengthen your skills in contextual and historical analysis and research. Lectures and seminars will introduce key concepts and provide advice on further independent research. Study group meetings and prepared seminar presentations will give you the opportunity to develop your own approaches to the syllabus texts and other materials. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate an informed appreciation of major literary works of the period 1900-1960;
  • 2. demonstrate an understanding of relevant literary and cultural movements;
  • 3. demonstrate an appreciation of the ways in which literature engages with key cultural and social issues of twentieth-century Britain, Ireland and America;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. demonstrate an ability to analyse the literature of an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context;
  • 5. demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;
  • 6. demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. through seminar work and group presentations, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
  • 8. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose;
  • 9. through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis;
  • 10. through research, seminar discussion, and essay writing demonstrate a capacity to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to reflect critically on their own learning process;
  • 11. through sitting their final exam, demonstrate proficiency in the use of memory and in the development, organization, and expression of ideas under pressure of time.

Syllabus plan

Topics covered may include:


Introducing Modernism: Modernist Manifestos; Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood

Critical Contexts

Modernism and Visual Culture: Gertrude Stein, Three Lives

Modernism and the Cinema

Modernist Subjectivities: T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Modernism, Colonialism and Nationalism: James Joyce, Dubliners

Modernism, Consumer Culture and Fashion

Modernism, Nostalgia and Elegy: Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Modernism, Medicine, and the Body

Modernism and Sexuality: D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

Regional Modernism: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

Modernism, Obscenity and Censorship

The 1930s, Class and Social Change: Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark

Late Modernism: Elizabeth Bowen, Selected Short Stories

After Modernism: Samuel Beckett, Endgame

Modernist Legacies/Postmodernism

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Guided Independent33study group preparation and meetings
Guided Independent70seminar preparation (individual)
Guided Independent158reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group Presentation15-20 Minutes1-10Peer feedback with opportunity for office hours follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay452000 words1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Exam452 hours1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Seminar Participation 10Continuous Oral Feedback with opportunity for office hours follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-10Referral/deferral period
ExamExam1-11Referral/deferral period
Seminar Participation Repeat Study or mitigation Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Primary Reading:


Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood

Samuel Beckett, Endgame

Elizabeth Bowen, Selected Short Stories

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

James Joyce, Dubliners

Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark

Gertrude Stein, Three Lives

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


Secondary Reading:?

David Bradshaw and Kevin J. H. Dettmar, A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture (Blackwell, 2006)

Jane Goldman, Modernism, 1910-1945: Image to Apocalypse (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2004)?

Vicki Mahaffey, Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions (Blackwell, 2007)?

Laura Marcus, Michele Mendelssohn and Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr, Late Victorian Into Modern (Oxford UP, 2016)

Ulrika Maude and Mark Nixon, The Bloomsbury Companion to Modernist Literature (Bloomsbury, 2018)

Rachel Potter, Modernist Literature (Edinburgh UP, 2012)

Bonnie Kime Scott, The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology (Indiana UP, 1990)?


Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Students registered on the course will be able to access Modernism and Modernity ELE website. This will include a lecture schedule, internet links and a discussion forum.

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

English, Literature, 20th Century, modernism, modernity