ENG 328: Modern Fiction (2018–2019)

Course Information

Course Code: ENG328Y1-Y LEC0101
Class Times: Tuesdays noon–2pm, Thursdays noon–1pm.
Class Location: RS 208

Instructor: Prof. Adam Hammond
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30–3:30, Thursdays 1:30–2:30
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 Bob Miller Book Room (180 Bloor St. West):

  • 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)
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories (Oxford; ISBN 978-0199536177)
  • Nella Larsen, Passing (Penguin; ISBN 978-0142437278)
  • Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141183954)
  • Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin; ISBN 978-0241956779)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview; 978-1551116556)
  • 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 Canvas:

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

Additional readings will be posted on Canvas.

Course Schedule

Fall Semester

Date Readings Assignment
September 6 Introduction
September 11 Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 1–11

kw: “Personality, Impersonality” (NB: these “kw”s refer to entries in Modernism: Keywords, which is available on Canvas. Whenever there is a “kw” on the syllabus, I’ll be referring to that entry in my lecture. You don’t need to read the entry. But you can!)

September 13 The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 12–15

kw: “Queer, Gay”

September 18 The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 16–25

kw: “Readers, Reading”

September 20 The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapter 26–end

kw: “Best Seller”

September 25 Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
September 27 Strange Case
October 2 Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, chapter 1–10

kw: “Difficulty, Obscurity”

October 4 The Turn of the Screw, chapter 10–end.
October 9 The Turn of the Screw

Joseph Conrad, “The Secret Sharer” (on Canvas)

October 11 “The Secret Sharer” Short Assignment #1 due
October 16 E. M. Forster, Howards End, chapters 1–7.
October 18 No class (AH away at conference) But keep reading Howards End!
October 23 Howards End, chapters 8–20.

kw: “Common Man”

October 25 Howards End, chapters 21–28.
October 30 Howards End, chapters 29–end.
November 1 Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, Part I, chapter 1.

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

kw: “Impressionism”

November 6 No Class (Fall Reading Week)
November 8 No Class (Fall Reading Week)
November 13 The Good Soldier, to the end of Part II.
November 15 The Good Soldier, Part III.

kws: “Propaganda” and “Sentimentality”

November 20 The Good Soldier, Part IV.
November 22 Wyndham Lewis, ed., Blast 1 (click link to read online copy). “Great Preliminary Vortex” (“Long Live the Vortex!,” “Manifesto — I,” Manifesto — II,” pp. 7–43)

kw: “Avant-Garde” and “Manifesto”

November 27 Blast 1. “Great Preliminary Vortex” and Rebecca West, “Indissoluble Matrimony” (pp. 98–117)
November 29 Katherine Mansfield, “Bliss” (on Canvas)
December 4 Mansfield, “Bliss” in The English Review (click link to read online copy) First-Term Essay due

Winter Semester

Date Readings Assignment
January 8 Mrs. Dalloway pages 1–48

kw: “Common Mind, Group Thinking”

January 10 Mrs. Dalloway pages 48–80

kw: “Woman, New Woman”

January 15 Mrs. Dalloway pages 80–128
January 17 Mrs. Dalloway pages 128–end
January 22 Wallace Thurman, ed., Fire!! Wallace Thurman, “Cordelia the Crude” (pp. 5–6) and Gwendolyn Bennett, “Wedding Day” (pp. 25–28)
January 24 Fire!! Richard Bruce [Nugent], “Smoke, Lilies and Jade, A Novel, Part I” (pp. 33–39)
January 29 Fire!! Zora Neale Hurston, “Sweat” (pp. 40–44) and “Color Struck”
January 31 Nella Larsen, Passing, Part I, chapters 1 and 2.
February 5 Passing, Part I ch. 3 – end of Part II.
February 7 Passing, Part III. Short Assignment #2 due
February 12 Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, chs. 1–9.
February 14 The Sun Also Rises, chs. 10–12.

kws: International & Universal

February 19 No Class (Reading Week)  
February 21 No Class (Reading Week)
February 26 The Sun Also Rises, chs. 13–17.

kw: Primitive

February 28 The Sun Also Rises, ch. 18–end.
March 5 Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark, Part I, chs. 1–6.
March 7 Voyage in the Dark, rest of Part I.
March 12 Voyage in the Dark, Part II.
March 14 Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, opening pages.
March 19 Untouchable, up to 86.
March 21 Untouchable, to end.
March 26 Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, chs. 1–2.
March 28 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, ch. 3.
April 2 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, ch. 4–end. Second-Term Essay due
April 4 Exam Review

Marking Scheme

Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Short Assignment #1 (10%)
  • First-Term Essay (20%)
  • Short Assignment #2  (15%)
  • Second-Term Essay (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 Canvas 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.