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Outline of Seminars

EN268 Modernist Cultures:

Seminar Outline


Term 1

Week 1: Presentation of module.

Week 2: Introduction to Modernist Cultures

  • Defining ‘modernity’, ‘modernization’ and ‘modernism’.
  • Watch Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times on YouTube, Part 1/9 and 2/9
  • Listen to opening bars of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring online
  • Look at Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ online

Lewis, Pericles. ‘Introduction’, The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism

Chapters by Berman and Williams in Brooker (ed) Modernism/Postmodernism

Harvey, David. 'Modernity and Modernism' in The Condition of Postmodernity

Trotter, David. ‘The Modernist Novel,’ in Levenson (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Modernism


Weeks 3-5: Edwardian Critiques of Empire

· The ‘strange death of liberal England’

· National identity and masculinity

· Imperial ‘Civilization’ and its discontents

Gasiorek, Andrzej. A History of Modernist Literature. (2015).

Lewis, Pericles. Cambridge Introduction, Ch.2

Week 3: Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness (1899/1902)

Hawthorn, Jeremy. 'Joseph Conrad's Half-Written Fictions' in The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel, 151-64.

Shaffer, Brian. 'Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness' in Bradshaw and Dettmar, 314-23.

Brantlinger, Patrick. Rule of Darkness

Watts, Cedric (ed) Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Watts, Cedric. The Deceptive Text

Watts, Cedric. A Preface to Conrad

Andrews, Michael R. Conrad and Masculinity

Achebe, Chinua. ‘An Image of Africa’, Massachusetts Review 18: 4 (1977)

Listen to archived Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ discussion of Heart of Darkness.

Week 4: Ford Madox Ford: The Good Soldier (1915)

Michael Levenson: ‘Character in ‘The Good Soldier,’ in Modernism and the Fate of Individuality: Character and Novelistic Form from Conrad to Woolf

Paul B. Armstrong: The Challenge of Bewilderment

Carol Jacobs: ‘The (too) good soldier: a real story,’ Glyph 3, 38-51

Max Saunders: Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, vol 1

Haslam, Sara. 'Ford Madox Ford: the Good Soldier' in Bradshaw and Dettmar, A Companion, 350-57.

Snitow, Ann Barr. Ford Madox Ford and the Voice of Uncertainty.

Trotter, David. “Hueffer’s Englishness.” Agenda, 27: 4, 28: 1 (1992), 148-155.

Galef, David. “Forster, Ford, and the New Novel of Manners.” In John Richetti (ed.) The Columbia History of the British Novel, 818-841

Cheng, Vincent. 'A Chronology of The Good Soldier' in The Good Soldier (Norton Critical Edition)

Week 5: E M Forster, Howards End (1910)

Jeremy Tambling (ed): E.M.Forster

Nicholas Royle: E.M.Forster

Wright, Anne. The Literature of Crisis

Perry Meisel, The Myth of the Modern: A study in British culture and criticism since 1850

Michael Levenson, Modernism and the Fate of Individuality

David Dowling, Bloomsbury Aesthetics and the Novels of Forster and Woolf

David Gervais, Literary Englands: Versions of Englishness in Modern Writing

Bette London: The Appropriated Voice: Narrative Authority in Conrad, Forster and Woolf

Peter Widdowson: E.M. Forster's Howards End: Fiction as History

Richard Sennett, 'Urban Individualism: E.M. Forster's London' in Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization, pp. 317-354.

Raymond Williams, ‘The Bloomsbury Fraction,’ in Problems in Materialism and Culture

Jan Marsh. Back to the Land: The Pastoral Impulse in England from 1880 to 1914


Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: Vorticism, 1914-1915

 Set Text: Blast: Review of the Great English Vortex – online at Modernist Journals Project.

  • Cultural politics of the avant-garde
  • Role of ‘little magazines’ in modernist culture
  • Relationship to Futurism and imagism
  • Vorticism and gender

Contents of Vol.1 (1914): Manifestoes, reviews by Lewis and Pound; Ford Madox Ford's 'The Saddest Story'; Rebecca West's 'Indissoluble Matrimony'; Poems by Pound ('Salutations the Third', 'Come my Cantilations', etc.); Wyndham Lewis's prose-play, 'Enemy of the Stars'; illustrations by Vorticist artists
inc. Henri Gaudier-Brzeska).

Dasenbrock, Reed Way. The Literary Vorticism of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis

Gasiorek, Andrzej. 'The 'Little Magazine' as Weapon: Blast' in Thacker and Brooker (eds), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of the Lit11

Pound, Ezra. Gaudier-Brzeska (1916)

Peppis, Paul. Literature, politics and the English avant-garde : Nation and empire, 1901-1918 

Edwards, Paul (ed). Blast : Vorticism 1914-1918

Materer, Timothy. Vortex : Pound, Eliot and Lewis

Munton, Alan. 'Vorticism' in Bradshaw and Dettmar, 176-82.

Webpages at

Also online: Mark Morrison, ‘Blast: An Introduction’ for the Modernist Journals Project online, esp. ‘Blast and Promotional literature’, ‘Blast and Literature’


Weeks 8-9: Modernism, war and sexual politics

Week 8: Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room (1922)

  • War, ‘civilization’ and gender
  • Critique of 19th century novel form
  • Representation of urban space

Woolf, Virginia. 'Modern Fiction' in Selected Essays

Hynes, Samuel. A War Imagined. New York: Atheneum, 1991.

McKay, Marina. ‘The Lunacy of Men, the Idiocy of Women; Woolf, West and War’, NWSA Journal 15.3 (2003) 124-144

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. ‘Soldier’s Heart: Literary Man, Literary Women and the Great War’ in No Man’s Land Vol.2 Sexchanges

Froula, Christina. Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Avant-Garde

Briggs, Julia. Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life

Flint, Kate. ‘Introduction’ to World’s Classics Edition

Marcus, Laura. Virginia Woolf

Zwerdling, Alex. Virginia Woolf and the Real World


Week 9: D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love (1920)

  • Critique of industrial modernity
  • Rhetoric of postwar ‘decadence’
  • Primitivism

Wexler, J. D.H. Lawrence: Women in love' in Bradshaw and Dettmar, 393-401.

Stevens, Hugh. ‘D.H. Lawrence’ in The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel

Delaney, Paul. (1979) D. H. Lawrence's Nightmare: The Writer and his Circle in the Years of the Great War

Ellis, David. DH Lawrence’s Women in Love: A Casebook

Day, Gary (ed) The Rainbow and Women in Love

Pinkney, Tony. D.H. Lawrence

Week 10: Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (1934)

  • Colonial / metropolitan spacetime
  • Sexuality and discourses of sexual purity
  • Primitivism


Rhys, Jean. 'Voyage in the Dark, Part IV (Original Version')' in Bonnie Kime Scott (ed) The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology, 381-9.

Mary Lou Emery, Jean Rhys at World’s End: Novels of Colonial and Sexual Exile 

Coral Ann Howells, Jean Rhys

Helen Carr, Jean Rhys 

Sue Thomas, The Worlding of Jean Rhys

Andrew Thacker, Moving Through Modernity

Term 2

James Joyce, Ulysses (1922)

Wk 1: Introduction to Ulysses and ‘Telemachus’

Wk 2: ‘Nestor’, 'Proteus'

Wk 3: 'Calypso', 'Lotos-Eaters'

Wk 4: ‘Hades', ‘Aeolus'’

Wk 5: ‘Lestrygonians', 'Scylla and Charybdis'

Wk 6: Reading Week

Wk 7: 'Wandering Rocks', 'Sirens'

Wk 8: ‘Cyclops’, ‘Nausicaa’

Wk 9: ‘Oxen of the Sun’, ‘Circe’, ‘Eumaeus’

Wk 10: ‘Ithaca’, ‘Penelope’.

Secondary reading:


Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated, 2nd ed. (U of California P, 1988)

Johnson, Jeri (ed) Ulysses (OUP)

Kiberd, Declan. Ulysses: Annotated Students’ Edition

Major Critical Views:

Although they have long been superseded by many other works, the following early studies provide key basic reading:

Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (OUP, 1989; 1st ed 1934)

Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce’s Ulysses (NY: Vintage, 1958; 1st ed, 1930).

Wilson, Edmund. Axel’s Castle: A study in the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930

Goldberg, S.L. The Classical Temper

*Useful collections of essays:

Attridge, Derek (ed) The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce

Attridge, Derek. James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Casebook

Introductory studies:

Hugh Kenner, Ulysses (Lond: Allen & Unwin, 1980, rev edn. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987)

Vincent Sherry, James Joyce: Ulysses (Landmarks of World Literature)


Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (OUP, 1983; 1st edn, 1959)

Other critical studies:

Jameson, Fredric. 'Ulysses in History" in W.J. McCormack and Alistair Stead (eds.), James Joyce and Modern Literature (RKP, 1982),126-41

Mahaffey, Vicki, Reauthorizing Joyce (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)

Moretti, Franco. Modern Epic: The World System from Goethe to Gracia Marquez (Verso, 1996)

Moretti, Franco. Signs Taken for Wonders (London: Verso, 1988). Ch 7.

Studies that focus on urban space:

Duffy, Enda "Disappearing Dublin" in Semicolonial Joyce (CUP, 2000)

Williams, Raymond The Country and the City, Ch 20, 233-47.

Gibbons, Luke. 'Montage, Modernism, the City' in Transformations in Irish Culture (Cork UP, 1996), 165-9