Modernist and Contemporary Fictions (816Q3B)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

Explore a range of modernist and contemporary literature and topics which engage with issues of artistic form, subjectivity, and modernity.
We’ll ask a variety of questions including:
  • how has 20th- and 21st-century writing represented the relationship between individual lives and historical forces?
  • what changes to the novel’s terrain have been effected by contemporary history, war, or historical trauma?
  • how have high and mass cultural forms, such as visual art, the cinema, the web, etc. influenced contemporary writing?
  • how do recent novels portray the aesthetic?
  • what different ideas of temporality do we find in modernist and contemporary writing?
  • what versions of borrowing from the past do we find in modernism and contemporary writing – and what purposes do these borrowings serve?
  • what are the legacies of modernism today? 
Authors studied may include: Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Djuna Barnes, Doris Lessing, Eimear McBride, Kamila Shamsie and Saidiya Hartman.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 278 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.