ENG 328: Modern Fiction to 1960 (2017–2018)

Course Information

Course Code: ENG328Y1-Y LEC0301
Class Times: Tuesdays 1–3pm, Thursdays 1–2pm.
Class Location: RW 142

Instructor: Prof. Adam Hammond
Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:15am-12:15pm, Thursdays 2:15-3:15pm
Office Hours Location: JHB 624
Email: adam.hammond@utoronto.ca

Course Overview

The first half of the twentieth century was among the most vibrant and inventive in English literature. This period of literary history unfolded during a time of rapid and radical change that saw the development of new communications technologies like the radio and cinema, the massive upheavals of two world wars, the decline of empire, and paradigm-crushing developments in psychology (Freudian psychoanalysis), philosophy (the unsettling of absolute truths), and science (Einstein’s relativity and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle). In this course, we will explore how a diverse selection of writers responded to this world in flux — and how they sought to use literature to intervene in this world. Our course will have two focuses. First, we will investigate the bold new techniques that modernist writers developed for representing multiple perspectives, plural conceptions of the self, and an expanded sense of community. To what extent can formal devices like stream-of-consciousness, unreliable narration, and multiple points of view prompt readers to re-think notions of selfhood, ethics, and politics? Do these techniques remain relevant in our own increasingly pluralist world? Second, we will investigate modernist publication practices — self-publication, little magazines, large commercial presses, mass-circulation periodicals — in order to better understand the mechanisms by which writers of modern fiction sought to disseminate their bold new ideas and techniques to a reading public and bring them to life in the public sphere.

In this course you will:

  • Distinguish the distinctive narratological devices of modernist fiction
  • Investigate the material and historical contexts of modernist fiction
  • Critique the modernist belief that literature could change politics by changing the way that people think
  • Explore the relevance of modernist techniques for contemporary social issues and contemporary artistic forms
  • Analyze the publication channels that modernists exploited (and created) to disseminate their work
  • Perform research in online and/or print archives of modernist literature
  • Write two essays and two short assignments

Course Materials

The following required texts are available from the University of Toronto Bookstore:

  • Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141393605)
  • Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (Broadview; ISBN 978-1551113814)
  • E. M. Forster, Howards End (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141199405)
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner; ISBN 978-0743297332)
  • Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (Norton; ISBN 978-0393332148)
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (HarperPerennial; ISBN 978-0060838676)
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (Vintage; ISBN 978-0679723165)
  • Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141183954)
  • Wallace Thurman, ed., Fire!! (Fire Press; ISBN 978-0912607009)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Oxford; ISBN 978-0199536009)

For your first assignment, you will need to watch Anthony Minghella’s 1999 film adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley, which is available through the University of Toronto Library’s subscription to Criterion On Demand.

The following suggested text is available on Blackboard:

  • Modernism: Keywords by Melba Cuddy-Keane, Adam Hammond, and Alexandra Peat (Wiley-Blackwell)

Additional readings will be posted in Blackboard.

Course Schedule

Fall Semester

Date Readings Assignment
September 7 Introduction
September 12 Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 1–11

kw: “Personality, Impersonality”

September 14 The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 12–15

kw: “Queer, Gay”

September 19 The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 16–25

kw: “Readers, Reading”

September 21 The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapter 26–end

kw: “Best Seller”

September 26 Henry James, In the Cage, chapters 1–12 (on Blackboard)

kw: “Difficulty, Obscurity”

September 28 In the Cage, chapters 13–18
October 3 In the Cage, chapters 19–end.
October 5 Joseph Conrad, “The Secret Sharer,” first half of Part I (on Blackboard)
October 10 “The Secret Sharer,” Parts I & II.
October 12 E. M. Forster, Howards End, chapters 1–7. Short Assignment #1 due
October 17 Howards End, chapters 8–20.

kw: “Common Man”

October 19 Howards End, chapters 21–28.
October 24 Howards End, chapters 29–end.  
October 26 Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, Part I, chapter 1.

FMF, “On Impressionism” (optional, pp. 260–280).

kw: “Impressionism”

October 31 The Good Soldier, to the end of Part II.
November 2 The Good Soldier, Part III.

kws: “Propaganda” and “Sentimentality”

November 7 No Class (Fall Reading Week)
November 9 No Class (Fall Reading Week)
November 14 The Good Soldier, Part IV.
November 16 Wyndham Lewis, ed., Blast 1. “Great Preliminary Vortex” (“Long Live the Vortex!,” “Manifesto — I,” Manifesto — II,” pp. 7–43)

kw: “Avant-Garde” and “Manifesto”

November 21 Blast 1. “Great Preliminary Vortex” and Rebecca West, “Indissoluble Matrimony” (pp. 98–117)
November 23 James Joyce, “Araby” (on Blackboard)

kw: “Language”

November 28 Joyce, “The Dead”
November 30 Katherine Mansfield, “Bliss” (on Blackboard)
December 5 Mansfield, “Bliss” in The English Review and “The Garden Party” (on Blackboard) First-Term Essay due

Winter Semester

Date Readings Assignment
January 4 No Class (AH away at MLA conference)
January 9 Mrs. Dalloway pages 1–48.

kw: “Common Mind, Group Thinking”

January 11 Mrs. Dalloway pages 48–80.

kw: “Woman, New Woman”

January 16 Mrs. Dalloway pages 80–128.
January 18 Mrs. Dalloway pages 128–end.
January 23 Wallace Thurman, ed., Fire!! Wallace Thurman, “Cordelia the Crude” (pp. 5–6) and Gwendolyn Bennett, “Wedding Day” (pp. 25–28)
January 25 Fire!! Zora Neale Hurston, “Sweat” (pp. 40–44) and Richard Bruce [Nugent], “Smoke, Lilies and Jade, A Novel, Part I” (pp. 33–39)
January 30 Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises chapters 1–9.
February 1 The Sun Also Rises, chs. 10-12.

kws: International & Universal

February 6 The Sun Also Rises, chs. 13–17.

kw: Primitive

February 8 The Sun Also Rises, ch. 18–end.
February 13 Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark, Part I, chapters 1–6.  Short Assignment #2 due
February 15 Voyage in the Dark, Part I, chs. 7–9.
February 20 No Class (Reading Week)  
February 22 No Class (Reading Week)
February 27 Voyage in the Dark, Part II–end.
March 1 Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, chs. 1–5
March 6 Their Eyes Were Watching God, chs. 6–16
March 8 Their Eyes Were Watching God, chs. 17–end.
March 13 Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, up to p. 62
March 15 Untouchable, pp. 62-86
March 20 Untouchable, pp. 86–end.
March 22 Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Foreword and first 5 chapters.
March 27 Lolita, as much as you can manage.
March 29 Lolita, to end.
April 3 Exam Review Second-Term Essay due
4/20 (Friday) Final Exam (9am–noon, Cartwright Hall, St. Hilda’s College, 44 Devonshire Place). Please double-check all info here.

Marking Scheme

Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Short Assignment #1: Film vs. Fiction (3 pages) (10%)
  • First-Term Essay (8 pages) (20%)
  • Short Assignment #2: Modernist Magazines (3 pages) (15%)
  • Second-Term Essay (10 pages)  (20%)
  • Final Exam (25%)
  • Participation (10%)

Late policy

All late assignments will be reduced 3% per day, including weekends. Assignments will not be accepted more than one week after the due date. All assignments are due in class. For information on submitting late work outside of class hours, see this page.


Active participation is necessary. Students are expected to contribute regularly and constructively to class discussion, at a rate of at least one in-class comment per week. If you find that you are falling below this rate, or if you are simply more comfortable expressing yourself in writing, you may make your contribution to the weekly Blackboard discussion threads (individual posts should be approximately 200 words in length, and may be on any topic related to that week’s assigned reading; they are due at the end of each week on Sunday at midnight).


Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Accessibility Services at (416) 978 8060; accessibility.utoronto.ca.


The University of Toronto treats cases of academic misconduct very seriously. Academic integrity is a fundamental value of learning and scholarship at the UofT. Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in this academic community ensures that your UofT degree is valued and respected as a true signifier of your individual academic achievement.

The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters outlines the behaviours that constitute academic misconduct, the processes for addressing academic offences, and the penalties that may be imposed. You are expected to be familiar with the contents of this document. Potential offences include, but are not limited to the following.

In papers and assignments:

  • Using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate acknowledgement
  • Submitting your own work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor
  • Making up sources or facts. Obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment (this includes working in groups on assignments that are supposed to be individual work)

On tests and exams:

  • Using or possessing any unauthorized aid, including a cell phone
  • Looking at someone else’s answers
  • Letting someone else look at your answers
  • Misrepresenting your identity
  • Submitting an altered test for re-grading


  • Falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including (but not limited to) doctor’s notes
  • Falsifying institutional documents or grades

All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following the procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in this course, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about appropriate research and citation methods, you are expected to seek out additional information from me or other available campus resources like the College Writing Centres, the Academic Success Centre, or the U of T Writing Website.

Communication Policy

My preferred method of contact is via e-mail. I will respond to e-mails within 24 hours, though I generally will not respond to e-mails sent on weekends until the following Monday.

Additional Notes

This syllabus is subject to change. Because of this, you are encouraged to consult this web page throughout the year, rather than printing it off.
Your remaining in this class constitutes acceptance of the conditions outlined in this syllabus.
Please be aware that we will discuss sensitive issues in the course, related to topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and politics.