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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sarah N Terry
ENGL 213
Seattle Campus

Modern and Postmodern Literature

Introduces twentieth-century literature and contemporary literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments since 1900.

Class description

Time, Consciousness, and Narrative. This course is a survey of British and American literature from the twentieth century, with close attention given to literary form and technique as responses to the experience of “modernity.� Instead of approaching the modern/postmodern divide as an absolute, we will investigate the evolution of similar problems and techniques in literature that occur across the twentieth century. We will place particular emphasis on narrative style and literary representations of how time is experienced. To that end, we will begin by exploring the modernist preoccupation with the individual’s inner life, and trace how writers throughout the twentieth century attempt to represent subjective experience in very different ways. We will read a mix of genres over the course of the quarter, including short stories, poetry, novels, and a play. In our discussions, we will investigate the texts’ forms, patterns, techniques, ideas, cultural contexts, and intertextuality. For the final paper, you will be encouraged to develop your own line of questioning within an area of interest to you. This course does not meet the University “W� requirement. This course does fulfill the VLPA requirement.

Student learning goals

Students are able to contextualize and analyze the materials or topics covered, historically, politically, culturally. (Analytical; Writing; Disciplinary)

Students understand the investments, contexts, and effects of the kind of close/critical reading skills or approaches under study/use. (Analytical; Disciplinary; Writing)

Students develop more sophisticated discussion and presentation skills in the interest of being better able to construct and defend their own arguments or interpretations. (Analytical; Disciplinary; Writing)

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

English 111, 121, or 131

Class assignments and grading

Required Texts: -- Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907) [Oxford World’s Classics (2004), ISBN 978-0-19-280169-2] -- James Joyce, Dubliners (1914) [Norton Critical Edition (2006), ISBN 978-0-393-97851-3] -- T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922) [Norton Critical Edition (2000), ISBN 978-0-393-97499-7] -- Jean Toomer, Cane (1923) [Norton Critical Edition (1987), ISBN 978-0-393-95600-9] -- Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts (1941) [Harcourt Annotated Edition (2008), ISBN 978-0-15-603473-9] -- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1954) [Grove Press (1994), ISBN: 978-0-8021-3034-1] -- Don DeLillo, White Noise: Text and Criticism (1985) [Viking Critical Library Edition, ISBN 9780140274981] -- Photocopied course packet containing poetry and critical essays

Course requirements include a demanding reading schedule, active in-class participation, response papers, a group presentation, a midterm, and a final research paper of 6-8 pages.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sarah N Terry
Date: 02/07/2010