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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jessica L. Burstein
ENGL 337
Seattle Campus

The Modern Novel

The novel on both sides of the Atlantic in the first half of the twentieth century. Includes such writers as Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Stein, Hemingway, Faulkner, and others.

Class description

This course asks what it is to be modern as well as what it means for the novel as a genre to be modern. It does so by looking at one of the oldest institutions, that of adultery, roughly from the 1910s through the early 1940s. The choice of focusing on an institution is deliberate, for modernism and the modern is in many ways a mix of tradition and if not revolution then renewal, crisis, or some sense of change. Our texts will take up the issues of sexual relations, marriage, what it is to know, or not to know (or what it is to know you do not know), and with that the issue of character presentation (do all characters have an inner life?), and a relation to one's past—or one's culture's past and, with that, history. The course will stress close reading, literary style, and thematic analysis; and proceed as a mix of discussion and lecture, with the emphasis on the former. (Warning: this class is about what is happening in the novels and critical analysis is our approach; personal experiences will not find their place in our discussions.) There will be a series of response papers structured around the formulation of a cogent question, formal papers, and possibly quizzes. Authors are likely to include Jean Rhys, Ford Madox Ford, Anita Loos, D. H. Lawrence, Evelyn Waugh, and Mary McCarthy.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Paper #1: 25% Paper #2: 30% Participation in discussions/quizzes: 20% Response papers: 25%


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 Jessica L. Burstein
Date: 09/17/2012