Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Henry J. Staten
ENGL 315
Seattle Campus

Literary Modernism

Various modern authors, from Wordsworth to the present, in relation to such major thinkers as Kant, Hegel, Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Bergson, and Wittgenstein, who have helped create the context and the content of modern literature. Recommended: either ENGL 230 or one 300-level course in nineteenth- or twentieth-century literature.

Class description

We will read a variety of poems and fictional works from France, Germany, England, and the U.S. in order to get a sense of the complex phenomenon called “Modernism.” Modernism is a style, or cluster of styles, of writing that flourished from roughly 1910-1930, but the beginnings of which can be traced to France in the mid-19th century. Modernist writers explored areas of experience that literature had formerly neglected (extreme or even pathological states of mind, commonplace things and people, sexuality and other corporeal processes, and so forth), and in the course of this exploration they moved away from traditional literary forms, inventing radically new forms (of which the most familiar are free verse and stream of consciousness).

The first half of the course will be on the poetry of Baudelaire, Rilke, and T. S. Eliot; the second half on fictional works by Kafka (Metamorphosis, Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, and Camus (The Stranger). You do not need to know anything about how to read poetry; I will teach you everything you need to know.

There will be a 2-3 page paper on Baudelaire due the second week (worth 20% of your grade); a 4-5 page mid-term paper on Rilke and Eliot (40 %); and a final, 4-5 page, paper on modernist fiction (40%). Your entire grade will be based on these three papers.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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.
Additional ENGL course descriptions.
Last Update by Henry J. Staten
Date: 02/14/2012