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Unit information: Modernism, Experimentation and Form in 2020/21

Unit name Modernism, Experimentation and Form
Unit code ENGLM0039
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Maude
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit introduces students to the formal and thematic innovations of Modernist writing. It addresses the structural and generic questions raised by early and high Modernist texts, as well as attending to the social, political and cultural contexts of the period, including scientific and medical discoveries; new technologies such as transport, telephony and film; the rise of psychoanalysis; feminism, sexual liberation and women in the workplace; the First World War, shell shock and language pathology; narrative, causality and chance-occurrence; animality, post-humanism, and Modernism’s evolved notion of the self.

The unit aims to develop students’ awareness of one of the most formally innovative periods in literary history; analyse its questioning of generic conventions and motifs; enable students to discuss and, at a mature level, write about literary works of the period and to encourage and develop existing skills through independent reading, research and writing.

Intended learning outcomes

1. A broadened experience of the range and variety of Modernist writing.

2. Improved independent critical thinking about literature of the period.

3. A maturing ability to apply critical, social and cultural contexts to the discussion of early-twentieth-century English literature.

4. Developing an appropriate style of critical writing for the discussion and analysis of literary works.

5. Improving existing skills through independent reading, research and writing on defined texts and topics.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. These can include seminars, lectures, class discussions, formative tasks, small group work, and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

1 x 4000 word summative assignment (100%) [ILOs 1-5] 1000 word presentation

Reading and References

Armstrong, Tim. Modernism, Technology and the Body. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Beasley, Rebecca. 'Theorists of Modernist Poetry'. London: Routledge, 2007.

Bradshaw, David and Kevin J. H. Dettmar (eds). 'A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture'. Oxford: Balckwell, 2008.

Kolocotroni, Vassiliki and Jane Goldman (eds.). 'Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents'. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Lewis, Pericles. 'The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism'. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Rainey, Lawrence (ed). 'Modernism: An Anthology'. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.