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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.


Kijk op MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.

Assessment method


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the assessment method will be different from the one originally mentioned in the e-guide. There will be an essay at the end of the course (50% of the final grade), but instead of the written test (50%) there will be 5 written assignments throughout the course, all of which will have to be handed in.
Each of these assignments will be graded out of 10, according to the usual criteria set for essays and exams. Together, these will give you a mark out of 50, which will be 50% of your final grade. The other 50% is for the essay.

  • 5 written assignments of ca.250 words each

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


  • • Average written assignments (50%)

  • Essay of 3000 words (50%)

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.


If the final mark (result of written assignments + sufficient mark for essay) is a 5 or lower, one or two of the written assignments may be resit.

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.

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 Brightspace

  • Rebecca West. The Return of the Soldier


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration Arsenaal or the coordinator of studies for questions.


Disclaimer: Please note that the course descriptions, in particular the assessment method, might be adjusted (timely) depending on the measures taken regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.