Modernism and Modernity: Literature 1900-1960 (EAS2103)

StaffDr John Bolin -
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 students’ 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 students the opportunity to develop their 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


Week 1 Modernist Manifestos


Week 2 Urbanity: Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907)


Week 3 Visual Culture: Gertrude Stein, "Melanctha" in Three Lives (1909)


Week 4 Modernist Subjectivity: T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)


Week 5 Colonialism and Nationalism: James Joyce, Dubliners (1914)




Week 7 Memory, Nostalgia, Elegy: Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)


Week 8 Modernism, Technology and the Body: D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928)


Week 9 Regional Modernism: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)


Week 10 The 1930s, Class, Social Change: Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (1932)


Week 11 War and Fascism: Elizabeth Bowen’s WW2 Short Stories


Week 12 After Modernism: Samuel Beckett, Endgame (1958)




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
Essay1000 words1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial 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 hours1-11Feedback 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


Core Reading:


Samuel Beckett, Endgame (Faber, 2009).

Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Penguin, 1994).

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems (Faber, 2002).

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (Vintage, 2004)

Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (Oxford, 1999).

James Joyce, Dubliners (Penguin, 2000).

D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Penguin, 2006).

Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin, 2000)

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (Penguin, 2000).



Secondary Reading:

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

John Carey, The Intellectuals and the Masses (Faber & Faber, 1992)

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

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

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

Randall Stevenson, Modernist Fiction , rev. ed (Prentice Hall, 1998)

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.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

A reading pack including useful secondary materials will be made available.

Reading for week 1

A selection of modernist manifestos (available on ELE) and poems.

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

English, Literature, 20th Century, modernism, modernity