English N20

Modern British and American Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2014 Creasy, CFS
MTuTh 10-12 242 Hearst Gym

Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Watt; Joyce, James: Dubliners; Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse

Other Readings and Media

A course reader that may include poems, short stories, and excerpts from works by W.H. Auden, Djuna Barnes, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Henry James, Wyndham Lewis, Mina Loy, Walter Pater, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Rebecca West, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and William Butler Yeats; and theoretical or critical excerpts from figures such as Sigmund Freud, Roger Fry, Max Nordau, and Georg Simmel.


Virginia Woolf famously wrote that “on or about December 1910, human character changed.” In her view, the exciting and experimental works of modernism—written by authors like T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Woolf herself—came out of the search for new ways to express this new human character. Many have followed Woolf in considering the masterworks of modernism as responses to the changes of the modern age: new ideas about psychology and the inner experience of the individual, war, technology, and an increasingly complex and urban world.

In this survey of modernist literature, we will spend time tracing the links Woolf emphasized—links between modernist literature and such developments as literary impressionism, modernist visual art, depth psychology, and psychoanalysis. But, at the same time, we will also investigate another modernist tradition—one that seeks to undo the binds holding literature to the integral representation of character, emotion and psychology, the individual, and inner experience.

This course will be taught in Session D, which runs from July 7 to August 15.

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