ENG 328: Modern Fiction (2019–2020)

Course Information

Course Code: ENG328Y1-Y LEC0101
Class Times: Mondays 11am–noon, Wednesdays 11am–1pm
Class Location: UC 52

Instructor: Prof. Adam Hammond
Office Hours: Mondays 12:30–1:30pm, Wednesdays 1:30–2:30pm
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-language fiction. 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 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 (St. George and College):

  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview Press, ISBN 978-1554810246)
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Broadview, ISBN 978-1551111261)
  • E. M. Forster, Maurice (Penguin, ISBN 978-0141441139)
  • James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Vintage, ISBN 978-0679739890)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Broadview, ISBN 978-1551117232)
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner; ISBN 978-0743297332)
  • Wallace Thurman, ed., Fire!! (Fire Press; ISBN 978-0912607009)
  • Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin, ISBN 978-0141183954)
  • Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin (New Directions, ISBN 978-0811220248)
  • Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (Penguin, ISBN 978-0141393605)
  • Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept ISBN (Fourth Estate, 978-0586090398)

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

September 9

  • Introduction

September 11

  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

September 16

  • Strange Case

September 18

  • Strange Case and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Red-Headed League” (on Quercus)
  • kw: “Reading, Readers”

September 23

  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, chapters 1–3

September 25

  • Dorian Gray, ch. 4–8

September 30

  • Dorian Gray, ch. 9–11
  • kw: “Reality, Realism”

October 2

October 7

  • Katherine Mansfield, “Germans at Meat,” “Frau Fischer,” “The Modern Soul,” “Along the Gray’s Inn Road,” “The Woman at the Store” (on Quercus).

October 9

  • Mansfield in context

October 14: Thanksgiving Holiday (no class)

October 16

  • James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, part I
  • James, Joyce, “Araby” (recommended; on Quercus)
  • Portrait in The Egoist

October 21

  • Portrait, part II

October 23

  • Portrait, parts III & IV
  • Assignment #1: Modernism in Context due

October 28

  • Portrait, part V

October 30

  • Concluding discussion on Portrait
  • E. M. Forster, Maurice, Part One

November 11

  • Maurice, Part Two

November 13

  • Maurice, Part Three

November 18 *

  • Maurice, Part Four

November 20

  • Blast 1: “Great Preliminary Vortex” (“Long Live the Vortex!,” “Manifesto — I,” Manifesto — II,” pp. 7–43) and Rebecca West, “Indissoluble Matrimony” (pp. 98–117) (On Quercus and the MJP)

November 25 *

  • Blast 2: Wyndham Lewis, “Editorial” (pp. 5–6), “The God of Sport and Blood” (pp. 9–10), “Wyndham Lewis Art Vortex No. 1” (p. 91), and “The Crowd Master” (94–102). Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, “Vortex Gaudier Brzeska” (pp. 33–34). T. S. Eliot, “Preludes” and “Rhapsody of a Winter Night” (pp. 48–51). Jessie Dismoor, “Monologue” (p. 65). (On Quercus and the MJP)

November 27 *

December 2 *

  • Katherine Mansfield, Prelude (on Quercus)

December 4 *

  • Mansfield, “The Voyage” and “At the Bay” (on Quercus)

Winter Semester

January 6 *

  • Virginia Woolf, Kew Gardens and Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown (both on Quercus)

January 8

  • Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, pages 45–90 (up to “The grey nurse…”)

January 13

  • Mrs Dalloway, pages 90–121 (up to “It was precisely twelve o’clock…”)

January 15

  • Mrs Dalloway, pages 121–end

January 20 *

  • Mrs Dalloway

January 22

  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (chapters 1-7)
  • Visit to Pratt Library (noon-1pm)

January 27

  • The Sun Also Rises (8-12)
  • Assignment #2: Creative Intervention due

January 29 *

  • The Sun Also Rises (chapters 13-17)

February 3

  • The Sun Also Rises (chapter 18-end)

February 5

  • Fire!!Wallace Thurman, “Cordelia the Crude” (pp. 5–6) and Gwendolyn Bennett, “Wedding Day” (pp. 25–28)

February 10

  • Fire!! Richard Bruce [Nugent], “Smoke, Lilies and Jade, A Novel, Part I” (pp. 33–39)

February 12 *

  • Fire!!: Zora Neale Hurston, “Sweat” (pp. 40–44) and “Color Struck” (pp. 7–14)

February 24

  • Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark

February 26

  • Voyage in the Dark

March 2

  • Voyage in the Dark

March 4

  • Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin

March 9

  • Goodbye to Berlin

March 11

  • Goodbye to Berlin
  • Final Essay due

March 16

  • All lectures from this point are moved online.
  • Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, up to p. 6.

March 18

  • Untouchable, up to p. 86.

March 23

  • Untouchable, to end.

March 25

  • Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

March 30

  • By Grand Central Station

April 1

  • By Grand Central Station
  • Review and final thoughts

Marking Scheme

Your final grade will be based on the following (revision proposed on March 17, 2020 and ratified by email vote on March 18, 2020):

  • Assignment #1: Modernism in Context (13.3%)
  • Archival Research Essay (26.7%)
  • Assignment #2: Creative Intervention  (13.4%)
  • Final Essay (33.3%)
  • Participation (13.3%)

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.


English courses at the University of Toronto offer a distinctive sense of community, as they aim to foster opportunities both to listen and to be heard. The Department of English expects regular, prompt attendance in all courses and active participation when appropriate. Lectures and in-class discussions provide the foundation and context for all written assignments and other forms of evaluation. By promoting both oral and written proficiency, the English program offers students a set of broadly effective professional and social skills. Regular attendance and informed participation demonstrate a commitment to fellow students and to the ideal of a shared educational experience.

Active participation in ENG328Y 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 Quercus 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.