Our class

The first half of the 20th century stands are among the great periods of English literature. The tremendous changes wrought by modernity—women’s rights, technological innovation, urbanization, a destabilizing empire, and class friction—manifest themselves in writing that is innovative, challenging, and deeply engaged with the changes going on around it. This semester, we’ll study some of the masterpieces of the period through the lens of voice. What does it sound like to be modern? We will ask this literally—through music, film clips, and other sound files—and literarily—through close reading of texts to see how each of these writers wrote in a distinctively modern voice.
Readings:

  • Rebecca West, “Indissoluble Matrimony” (1914) 
  • James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914) 
  • Katherine Mansfield, “Prelude” (1917) (blackboard)
  • D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love (1920)
  • T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
  • W. B. Yeats, poems
  • Stevie Smith, Novel on Yellow Paper (1936)
  • Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight (1939)
  • Louise Bennett, poems (blackboard)