English 126

British Literature: 1900-1945: The Modernist Novel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2016 Flynn, Catherine
TTh 2-3:30 56 Barrows

Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Watt; Conrad, Joseph: Lord Jim; Doyle, Arthur Conan: The Sign of Four; Eliot, George: The Lifted Veil; Ford, Ford Madox: The Good Soldier; Forster, E.M.: Howards End; Joyce, James: Ulysses; Rhys, Jean: Good Morning, Midnight; Woolf, Virginia: The Waves


The British novel in the first half of the twentieth century was a site of massive formal experimentation. Time, space, narrators, characters, and language were dismantled and reconfigured in startling new ways. In this survey, we will look at novelistic experiments by seven authors: Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and Samuel Beckett. Using close reading and formal analysis, we ask what these experiments were. We will gather a set of varied and precise ways of talking about modernism’s formal features, its philosophical issues and its social and historical context.  As a foil for modernist experimentation, we will begin by examining two short nineteenth-century texts: George Eliot's The Lifted Veil and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four.

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