Module Identifier EN32320  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Professor Timothy S Woods  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will be able to:

1. describe and appraise the main theories of and debates within modernism;

2. relate theories and practices of modernism to set texts;

3. describe the broad effects of modernist devices on literary and cultural forms;

4. apply examples from the arguments of principal exponents of modernist theory;

5. comment critically on the material chosen for study;

6. engage in coherent oral discussion of the texts and background material;

7. write about the subject in a well-structured and argued manner.


The principal aim of this module will be to familiarise students with the variety of debates centring upon the problematic of modernism, but in particular, to consider whether one can perceive and describe the political ideologies underpinning the various aesthetics of modernism.

Brief description

By focusing on a selection of texts from the 'high' modernist canon, the following issues might be explored:



Seminar 1: Introduction: Modernism, Modernity, Modernization

Seminar 2: Aestheticism, Myth and Politics

Seminar 3: Culture and Hegemony: "Articulate Raids"

Seminar 4: A Modernist Odyssey: 'Myth and Order'

Seminar 5: 'Curios of signs' and 'alphabettyformed verbiage'

Seminar 6: Engendering a Modernist Aesthetic

Seminar 7: Imagism and the Object: "Dichten = Condensare"

Seminar 8: Myth, History and Herself Defined

Seminar 9: Gender, Language and Silence

Seminar 10: Power/Knowledge/Gender


The Hugh Owen Library is well stocked with texts in this field and on these authors, and is extremely well supplemented by the texts in the National Library. A short indicative bibliography is listed below, but specific bibliographies on the module subjects will be handed out on a weekly basis.

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
W. B. Yeats (ed. T Webb) Selected Poems Penguin
James Joyce Ulysses Penguin
T. S. Eliot Collected Poems Faber
Virginia Woolf The Waves Penguin
H.D. Trilogy New Directions
Gertrude Stein Tender Buttons Dover
D. H. Lawrence The Rainbow Penguin
Ezra Pound Selected Poems 1908-1959 Faber
** Recommended Background
Fuller, Peter (1983) Aesthetics After Modernism Writers and Readers Publishing Co-Op
Huyssen, Andreas (1988) After the Great Divide Macmillan
Lukacs, Georg, 'The Ideology of Modernism', in (1963) The Meaning of Contemporary Realism Merlin Press
Lunn, Eugene (1987) Marxism and Modernism Verso
Josipovici, Gabriel (1977) The Lessons of Modernism Macmillan
Moretti, Franco (1983) Signs Taken For Wonders Verso
Reiss, Timothy J. (1982) The Discourse of Modernism Cornell U.P.
Ross, Andrew (1986) The Failure of Modernism Columbia U.P.
Bradbury, Malcolm, and McFarlane, James, (eds.) (1976) Modernism: 1890-1930 Penguin
Berman, Marshall (1983) All That Is Solid Melts Into Air Verso
Bergonzi, Bernard (1986) The Myth of Modernism Harvester
Berger, John (1969) The Moment of Cubism Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Benjamin,Walter (1983) Understanding Brecht Verso
Benjamin,Walter, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" in Hannah Arendt (ed.), (1973) Illuminations Fontana
Benjamin, A, (ed). (1990) The Problems of Modernity Routledge
Bell, Daniel (1976) The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism Heinemann
Barker, Francis, (1979) The Sociology of Literature: Vol 1: The Politics of Modernism University of Essex
Foster, Hal (1983) The Anti-Aesthetic Bay Press
Fokkema, D.W. (1987) Modernist Conjectures C.Hurst
Collier, Peter, and Davies, Judy, (eds.) (1990) Modernism and the European Unconscious St.Martin's Press
Breton, Andre (1978) What is Surrealism? Pluto Press
Spender, Stephen (1963) The Struggle of the Modern California U.P.
Stead, C.K. (1986) Pound, Yeats and Eliot and the Modernist Movement Macmillan
Svarny, E. (1988) "The Men of 1914" Open U.P.
Taylor, Ronald, (ed). (1980) Aesthetics and Politics Verso
White, Allon (1981) The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism RKP
Williams, Raymond (1961) Culture and Society, 1780-1950 Penguin
Williams, Raymond (1990) The Politics of Modernism Verso


This module is at CQFW Level 6