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Literature 5B: Anglo-American Modernism


Admission requirements

Successful completion of Literature 1A, 1B, 2 and 3 or 4, or equivalent.


This course will give an overview of literature written in Great Britain, Ireland and the United States between ca. 1890 and 1940, the period of Modernism, noted for its international and transatlantic dynamics. Keywords of this period are “subjectivity”, “epistemology”, “relativism” and “-ism”. Next to a focus on the formal and experimental aspects of Modernist texts, this literature will be studied in a larger context (developments in the fields of science and the arts, social and political developments).
We will study canonical Modernist writers such as W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, H.D., Virginia Woolf and Ezra Pound, as well as the importance of the various avant-garde manifestoes and magazines such as BLAST.

Course objectives

This course will extend and deepen the power of students’ literary critical analysis through in-depth consideration of texts. Students will explore critical debates central to the literature of the Modernist period. The course will also aim to extend the students’ skills in the reading of narrative and the understanding of the relationship of a text to its cultural/social context. Students will be encouraged to share analytical and critical views on the texts ascribed in class discussion, and will focus research skills in the writing of a final essay. This essay will be on a relevant subject of their own choice within the parameters of the course, and will further extend the students’ critical skills and their ability to produce good, clear writing. A final exam will test students’ knowledge of the literature of the period, and give them an opportunity to display their insight, their familiarity with the texts, and the range of their critical ideas.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 280 hours.

  • hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26

  • time for studying the compulsory literature: 206

  • time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading / research): 48

Assessment method


  • Final written test;

  • Essay of 3000 words, one needs to have a sufficient mark (6.0 or higher) in order to pass.


  • Final written test (50%)

  • Essay of 3000 words (50%)


If the final mark (result of written test + sufficient mark for essay) is a 5 or lower, the written test may be resit once for 50% of the final mark.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.

Inspection and feedback.

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, Volume II or Volume F: The Twentieth Century and After (N.B. the 9th edn contains the complete text of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, so this needs not to be bought separately!)

  • James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin)

  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (Penguin)

  • E.M Forster, A Passage to India (Penguin)

  • Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Henry James, What Maisie Knew (Penguin)

  • Texts in Blackboard

  • Rebecca West. The Return of the Soldier


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk