Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Twentieth Century British Literature
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 1 hour weekly seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2000 word essay.  33%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   2 question exam.  67%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Resit exam  Resit examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge of a representative range of literary texts from the twentieth century.

Locate these texts in appropriate cultural and historical contexts.

Artiulate a detailed critical analysis of individual texts from the period that shows an understanding of their distinctive qualities.

Relate texts from the period either to each other or to a common theme.

Brief description

The module offers students the opportunity to engage with the range and variety of twentieth-century writing. By focusing on texts from a range of genres, it seeks to give a sense of teh movement between the poles of realism and experimentation over the course of the period. There is a 'Text' and a 'Context' lecture on each of the texts. The introductory and concluding lectures discuss a range of adjacent texts and relevant contexts, as appropriate, usually without explicit reference to the set texts. The 'Context' lectures on each set text also discuss a range of adjacent texts and relevant contexts, but keyed explicitly to the set text in question.


1. Introductory Lecture

2-3. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899-1900)
4-5. James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
6-7. T.S. Eliot, Selected Poems (1917-1927)
8-9. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (1927)

10-11. W.H. Auden, Selected Poems (1930s-1950s)
12-13. John Osborne, Look Back in Anger (1956)
14-15. Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (1956)
16-17. Sylvia Plath, Ariel (1965)
18-19 Doris Lessing, The Good Terrorist (1985)

20. Concluding Lecture

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication (Written) in essays and examination answers students are encouraged to express their ideas articulately and fluently (Oral) seminars are based on group discussion and brief student presentations
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are encouraged to take more personal initiative in the planning and conduct of their preparation for assignments than at Level 1, and to make use of a broader range of resources; formal feedback on essays and informal feedback on seminar participation helps students measure their improvement
Information Technology Substantial use is made of electronic text-databases (EEBO, LION), of electronic journals, and of Blackboard, and students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these
Personal Development and Career planning Only insofar as the module covers key areas of literature in which students intending to teach English would need to demonstrate competence; or which might be related to future academic research
Problem solving In essays and examination answers: by formulating and putting into practice a critical approach appropriate to text and topic set
Research skills In preparation for seminars, essays, and exams: by investigation of literary texts, associated critical and scholarly writing, and the relationship of literary texts to historical an cultural contexts
Subject Specific Skills Close reading of literary texts; grasp of generic and intertextual relationships between texts; identification and analysis of appropriate historical and cultural contexts
Team work Informal group work in seminars

Reading List

General Text
(2007.) Eye rhymes :Sylvia Plath's art of the visual /edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley. Oxford University Press Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Eliot, T.S Selected Poems (1919-1927) Primo search Joseph Conrad (2008) Heart of Darkness Oxford University Press Primo search Joyce, James (June 2008) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Oxford University Press Primo search Lessing, Doris (Aug. 2007) The Good Terrorist HarperCollins Publishers Limited Primo search Plath, Sylvia (June 2007) Ariel:The Restored Edition Faber & Faber, Limited Primo search Selvon, Sam (Aug. 2006) The Lonely Londoners Penguin Classics [Imprint] Primo search W H Auden (editor John Fuller) (2005) W H Auden: Poems selected by John Fuller Faber and Faber Primo search Woolf, Virginia (July 2008) Mrs Dalloway 2nd ed. Oxford University Press Primo search
Recommended Background
(1980, c1977.) Aesthetics and politics /Ernst Bloch ... [et al.]; afterword by Fredric Jameson ; translation editor, Ronald Taylor. Verso Primo search (1990.) Literature in the modern world :critical essays and documents /edited by Dennis Walder. Oxford University Press in association with the Open University Primo search (1999.) The Cambridge companion to modernism /edited by Michael Levenson. Cambridge University Press Primo search Barker, Francis, (1979) The Sociology of Literature: Vol 1: The Politics of Modernism. University of Essex Primo search Bell, Daniel. (1976.) The cultural contradictions of capitalism /Daniel Bell. Heinemann Primo search Benjamin, A (ed) (1990) The Problems of Modernity Routledge Primo search Bergonzi, Bernard. (1986.) The myth of modernism and twentieth century literature /Bernard Bergonzi. Harvester Press Primo search Berman, Marshall. (1983.) All that is solid melts into air :the experience of modernity /Marshall Berman. Verso Primo search Bowlby, Rachel. (1988.) Virginia Woolf : feminist destinations /Rachel Bowlby. Blackwell Primo search Bradbury, Malcolm and McFarlane, James (eds) (1976) Modernism: 1890-1930 Penguin Primo search Collier, Peter and Davies, Judy (eds) (1990.) Modernism and the European Unconscious St. Martin's Press Primo search Danson Brown, Richard and Gupta, Suman (2005) Aestheticism & Modernism Open University Press Primo search Fokkema, D.W (1987) Modernist Conjectures C Hurst Primo search Foster, Hal (ed) (1983.) The Anti-aesthetic :essays on postmodern culture Bay Press Primo search Fuller, Peter. (1983.) Aesthetics after Modernism. Writers and Readers Primo search Huyssen, Andreas (1988, c1986.) After the great divide :modernism, mass culture, postmodernism /Andreas Huyssen. Macmillan Primo search Josipovici, Gabriel (1977.) The lessons of modernism, and other essays /Gabriel Josipovici. Macmillan Primo search Lunn, Eugene. (c1982, 1985 pri) Marxism and modernism :an historical study of Luk acs, Brecht, Benjamin and Adorno /Eugene Lunn. Verso Primo search Mendelson, E (1981) Early Auden Faber Primo search Morretti, Franco (1983) Signs Taken For Wonders Verso Primo search Reiss, Timothy J. (1982.) The discourse of modernism /Timothy J. Reiss. Cornell University Press Primo search Ross, Andrew (1986.) The failure of modernism :symptoms of American poetry /Andrew Ross. Columbia University Press Primo search Spender, Stephen (1963.) The struggle of the modern /by Stephen Spender. University of California Press Primo search Stead, C. K. (1986.) Pound, Yeats, Eliot and the modernist movement /C.K. Stead. Macmillan Primo search Svarny, Erik (1988) 'The men of 1914' :T.S. Eliot and early modernism /Erik Svarny. Open University Press Primo search White, Allon. (1981.) The uses of obscurity :the fiction of early modernism /of Allon White. Routledge & Kegan Paul Primo search Williams, Raymond (1961.) Culture and society 1780-1950 /Raymond Williams. Penguin Books Primo search Williams, Raymond (1989(1993 print) The politics of modernism :against the new conformists /by Raymond Williams; edited and introduced by Tony Pinkney. Verso Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5