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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2090 Modern Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 108

School of English

Module manager: Tracy Hargreaves

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is mutually exclusive with

ENGL2065Postcolonial Literature

Module replaces

ENGL3024 - Modern Literature

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines the distinctive stylistic and formal innovations in the fiction, poetry, and cinema of the early twentieth century in relation to radically changing social, historical, and global contexts. It will explore how contemporaneous innovations in the arts, new technologies, psychoanalysis shaped modern writing and new ways of understanding the self. How did the First World War influence new ways of writing and new ways of seeing a fragmenting post-war world? And how do these texts and contexts come to shape literary modernism and global modernity?


Modern Literature aims to inculcate a critical understanding of a range of literary texts and genres between 1900 and 1939 through a combination of seminar discussion, close reading and essay. The module aims to equip students with the critical skills to students to gain insights in and knowledge of
• stylistic and formal developments in literature and film
• the influence of historical and cultural contexts
• engagement with relevant scholarship on modernism and modernity.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
1. develop capacity for close reading, critical thinking and argument.
2. demonstrate an informed understanding of modernist texts.
3. demonstrate informed engagement with wider contexts including those relating to modernism (e.g. modernist essays and manifestos, psychoanalytic texts)
4. demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with wider scholarship and debates around modernism and its cultural contexts.

Skills outcomes
• Skills for effective oral and written communication.
• Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
• Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
• Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
• Critical reasoning.
• Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
• IT skills.
• Time management and organisational skills.
• Independent learning.


This module introduces you to the modern fiction, poetry, and cinema of the early twentieth century, a period frequently approached in relation to ideas of modernism and modernity. Modernism is distinguished by its commitment to ‘making it new’, to the radical re-evaluation and development of new cultural forms, by its exploration of new conceptions of selfhood as these emerge through psychoanalysis, and in relation to the widespread changes in modernity preceding and following the First World War. Throughout the module we will have the opportunity to consider innovations and influences in modernist styles, the impact of the cinema on literary form and technique, the self in relation to new ways of understanding sexuality and gender, the impact of new technologies and of urban and natural environments on modern human and non-human experience, the global scope of modernism in relation to the aftermath of the First World War and the emerging crisis of Empire.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly seminar contributions. Feedback on assessed work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,000-word critique25.00
Essay2,500-word essay75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 11/06/2024 11:40:26


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