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“Anywhere But Here and Now”: Prose Fiction of the Interbellum, 1919-1939


Admission requirements

A relevant BA degree.


The period between World Wars I and II features both the optimism and extravaganza of the Roaring Twenties and the depression and restraint of the Dreary Thirties. In this course we will by-pass the “canonical” prose works by well-known Modernist like D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, to focus instead on “minor classics” by some of their most interesting and original contemporaries. Read against the historical background of what has been called the Age of Illusion, the British prose fiction of this era will prove to offer a wide range of genres, from the realism of Arnold Bennett and J.B. Priestley to the science fiction and utopian fantasies of David Lindsay and Herbert Read, from (post-)colonial fiction by Sylvia Townsend Warner, John Collier and Joyce Cary to thrilling adventure stories by Richard Hughes, Daphne du Maurier and Graham Greene. Closer study of these novels, also by placing them in relevant theoretical perspectives, will provide detailed insight into the concerns, both social and cultural-historical, of an age which in many ways resembles our own.

Course objectives

Based on the assumption that participants have already acquired the basic skills for the analysis of literary texts, this course aims to extend these skills both in terms of textual analysis (close reading) and contextual approach (cultural-historical as well as theoretical). Students will be encouraged to share analytical and theoretical views on the assigned texts in class discussions, including short presentations, and to focus research skills on a relevant subject of their own choice within the parameters of the course in the form of a final research paper.


The timetable will be available by July 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

Three-hour seminar.

Course Load

The course load is 280 hours:
• 40 hours class attendance
• 200 hours class preparation
• 40 hours final paper.
The hours above are an approximate calculation only. Some students read fast and write slow and vice versa.

Assessment method

Participation (including short presentations): 50%
A final research paper (ca. 5,000 words): 50%


This course is not supported by blackboard.

Reading list

Peter Barry, Beginning Theory (3rd edn, 2009)
David Thomson, England in the Twentieth Century (1981 or later)
David Lindsay, A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
Arnold Bennett, Riceyman Steps (1923)
Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mr Fortune’s Maggot (1927)
Richard Hughes, A High Wind in Jamaica (1929)
John Collier, His Monkey Wife (1930)
J.B. Priestley, Angel Pavement (1930)
Herbert Read, The Green Child (1935)
Christopher Isherwood, Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935)
George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936)
Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (1938)
Joyce Cary, Mister Johnson (1939)
Graham Greene, The Confidential Agent (1939)


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272251 or mail.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration via Contractonderwijs

Contact information

MA Literary Studies departmental office, Van Wijkplaats 3, room 002A. Tel. 071 527 2251 or mail.
Coordinator of Studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


Participants will be sent a detailed course programme well before the first seminar.
The tutor does not supervise Master’s theses!