Topics in the Twentieth Century: EN4224

2004-2005 Semester I

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*       CONTENTS

On this page you will find the following information about the course EN 3204:


Course Description

Primary Texts

Secondary Texts

You can also follow these links to web pages containing:


Supplementary Reading Lists

Lecture Notes (dedicated to the 2004 syllabus only)

Lecture Notes (all the modernism lectures)


Relevant and Useful Websites

The links are constantly being updated.  If you find something you think we should know about, let me know.





John W Phillips




The course studies selected texts from the modernist period and examines the characteristics and contexts of the period itself. With reference to the more general condition of modernity--considered in terms of historical, economic and technological developments--modernism is examined in terms of its being both a reaction to and a constituent part of modernity. Modernism involves a set of historical engagements utilizing a number of aesthetic, political and ideological strategies. The modernist avant garde can be disturbing and sometimes shocking in its attempts to shake up consciousness of the present and to rethink relations to the past and to the future. Lectures will offer introductions not only to the texts but also to various modernist movements and related contexts. Lectures will also look at relationships that existed between literature and other cultural forms, like painting, architecture and music, as well as contemporary intellectual movements such as existential philosophy and psychoanalytic theory. The course provides an outline of the political and social contexts that help to define this period of rapid and drastic change.




* IVLE Module Outline



1. Stéphane Mallarmé. Selected Poetry and Prose. Edited by Mary Anne Caws. New York: New Directions, 1982.

2. Walter Benjamin, Illuminations Pimlico;.

3. Umbro Appolonio, ed. Futurist Manifestos. Boston, Mass.: MFA Publications, 2001.

4. Mina Loy. The Lost Lunar Baedecker: Selected Poems.

5. Sigmund Freud. The Uncanny. Translated by David McLintock with an Introduction by Hugh Haughton.

6. Katherine Mansfield. In a German Pension. Penguin Modern Classics.


Other materials will be made available throughout the course.



Benjamin, Andrew, ed. The Problems of modernity: Adorno and Benjamin. London: Routledge, 1989.

Berman, Art. Preface to Modernism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Bradbury, Malcolm and James McFarlane, eds. Modernism, 1890-1930. Brighton: Harvester Press, 1978.

Bradshaw, David, ed. A Concise Companion to Modernism. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

Childs, Peter. Modernism. London: Routledge, 2000.

Eysteinsson, Astradur. The concept of Modernism. Cornell University Press, 1990.

Levenson, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. Cambridge: CUP, 1999.

McGann, Jerome J. Black riders: the visible language of modernism. Princeton University Press, 1993.

Nicholls, Peter. Modernisms: A Literary Guide. Macmillan.

Weston, Richard. Modernism. London: Phaidon Press, 1996.






The Notes and Schedule now have a page of their own:

Lecture Schedule and Notes

The Supplementary Lecture notes, which can be found here, provide lecture notes not necessarily used in the lectures as well as some more in depth studies for those who want to explore further.



Students give one presentation and submit one essay due at the end of the course.


Note: There will be an open book examination.

Coursework Assessment

Essay Topics


DADA is a virgin microbe
DADA is against the high cost of living
DADA limited company for the exploitation of ideas
DADA has 391 different attitudes and colours according to the sex of the president
It changes -- affirms -- says the opposite at the same time -- no importance -- shouts -- goes fishing.
Dada is the cha
meleon of rapid and self-interested change.
Dada is against the future. Dada is dead. Dada is absurd. Long live Dada.
Dada is not a literary school, howl.

Tristan Tzara

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