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Week 1. Introduction: Modernity and the Module

Unit I (1789-1848): Enlightenment, Revolution, Romanticism

Week 2. Johann von Goethe, Faust Part I, trans. David Luke (Oxford World’s Classics)

Week 3. Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, African (Dover Thrift)

Week 4. William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”; Percy B. Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind” and “The Mask of Anarchy”; Alexander Pushkin, “The Bronze Horseman” [please download the handout for Term 1]

Week 5. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein [1818 Text] (Norton Critical Editions)

Unit II (1848-1914): Modernity, Capital, Empire

Week 7. Charles Baudelaire, “I. Beauty, Fashion and Happiness,” “II. Manners and Modes,” “III. An Artist, Man of the World, Man of Crowds and Child,” “IV. Modernity,” “IX. The Dandy,” from “The Painter of Modern Life”; “The Swan” from Fleurs du Mal; “The Eyes of the Poor,” “Lost Halo,” “Bash the Poor!” from Paris Spleen; Arthur Rimbaud, “The Drunken Boat” [Term 1 handout; note that syllabus links offer alternative translations for the purpose of comparison]

Week 8. Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House (Four Major Plays, Oxford World’s Classics)

Week 9. Natsume Soseki, Kokoro trans. Meredith McKinney (Penguin Classics)

Week 10. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Penguin Popular or Penguin Classics)


Unit III (1914-1945): Modernisms and World War

Week 1. Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World (Penguin Classics)

Week 2. Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis, trans. Susan Bernofsky (Norton)

Week 3. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes (Virago / Penguin)

Week 4. Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children, trans. John Willett (Methuen)

Week 5. Silvina Ocampo, "The Impostor" in The Impostor and OtherLink opens in a new window StoriesLink opens in a new window, trans. Daniel Balderston (Serpents Tail)NB: We will be covering just the title story from this collection

Unit IV (1945-1989): Cold War and Decolonization

Week 7. Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [Term 2 handout]

Week 8. Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star (Penguin)

Week 9. Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet BornLink opens in a new window (Heinneman)

Week 10. Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven (Penguin)


Unit V (1990-present): Contemporary World Literatures

The summer term will be given over to the reading of two works of post-1989 literature, using a range of activities – a film screening, seminar discussion, group presentations – to address the pressing questions of literature and its institutional study today.

In 2020-21, we will read the following:

Week 1. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (Vintage)

Weeks 2-3. A range of of post-1989 works chosen by MWL tutors and presented by students at our final meeting of the year