ENG 328: Modern Fiction (2021–2022)

Course Information

Course Code: ENG328Y1-Y LEC0101
Class Times: Mondays 11–noon, Wednesdays 11–1
Class Location: RW 143 (Note: course will be conducted online for the first two weeks; see announcement on Quercus)

Instructor: Prof. Adam Hammond
Office Hours: Fridays noon-1pm (via Zoom, scheduled on Quercus; see “Office Hours” announcement on course Quercus page)
Office Hours Location: Zoom
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 are required texts. Any edition — print or digital — is acceptable, though I have ordered the following editions from the U of T Bookstore and will be referring to these editions in my lectures. However, I have provided the ISBN of the editions I will be referring to in my lectures.

  • Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (Norton; ISBN 978-0393332148)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview Press; ISBN 978-1554810246)
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories (Oxford; ISBN 978-0199536177)
  • E. M. Forster, Howards End (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141199405)
  • Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (Broadview; ISBN 978-1551113814)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Broadview; ISBN 978-1551117232)
  • Wallace Thurman, ed., Fire!! (Fire Press; ISBN 978-0912607009 — online here)
  • Nella Larsen, Passing (Penguin; ISBN 978-0142437278 or Dover; ISBN 978-0486437132)
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner; ISBN 978-0743297332)
  • 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)

The following suggested text is available on Quercus:

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

Additional readings will be posted on Quercus.

Course Schedule

For now, I am providing week-by-week reading assignments. As we begin actual in-person classes in week three, I’ll begin listing session-by-session reading assignments.

Fall Semester

Week 1 (Sep 13 + 15)

  • Introduction (pre-recorded video lecture)

Week 2 (Sep 20 + 22)

  • Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 1–15 (pre-recorded video lecture)
  • Small-group Zoom discussion groups (see announcements on Quercus)

Week 3 (Sep 27 + 29)

  • Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley, chapters 16–end
  • Return in to regular in-person lecture+discussion format

Week 4 (Oct 04 + 06)

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

Week 5 (Oct 11 + 13)

Note that the 11th is a holiday. Stay tuned…

  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

Week 6 (Oct 18 + 20)

  • Finishing The Turn of the Screw
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Red-Headed League” (on Quercus)
  • Creative Intervention due October 22nd

Week 7 (Oct 26 + 28)

  • E. M. Forster, Howards End, chapters 1–7

Week 8 (Nov 1 + 3)

  • Howards End, chapters 8–20

Reading Week

Week 9 (Nov 15 + 17)

  • Howards End, chapters 21–end.

Week 10 (Nov 22 + 24)

  • Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, parts I and II.
  • First Term Essay due Nov 26

Week 11 (Nov 29 + Dec 1)

  • Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, parts III and IV.

Week 12 (Dec 6 + 8)

  • 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). (I also really recommend Rebecca West, “Indissoluble Matrimony” (pp. 98–117) if you have the time — it’s sort of amazing. But it’s not required reading.)
  • Katherine Mansfield, “Bliss” (on Quercus and in The English Review)

Winter Break

Week 13 (Jan 10 + 12)

  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, pages 1–80.

Week 14 (Jan 17 + 19)

  • Mrs. Dalloway, pages 80–end

Week 15 (Jan 24 + 26)

  • Fire!!Wallace Thurman, “Cordelia the Crude” (pp. 5–6), Gwendolyn Bennett, “Wedding Day” (pp. 25–28), Richard Bruce [Nugent], “Smoke, Lilies and Jade, A Novel, Part I” (pp. 33–39), and Zora Neale Hurston, “Sweat” (pp. 40–44)

Week 16 (Jan 31 + Feb 2)

  • Nella Larsen, Passing, parts I and II

Week 17 (Feb 7 + 9)

  • Passing, part III
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, chapters 1–12
  • Modernism in Context assignment due Feb 11th

Week 18 (Feb 14 + 16)

  • The Sun Also Rises, chapter 13–end.

Reading Week

Week 19 (Feb 28 + Mar 2)

  • Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark, Part 1

Week 20 (Mar 7 + 9)

  • Voyage in the Dark, Parts 2-4

Week 21 (Mar 14 + 16)

  • Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin, “A Berlin Diary (Autumn 1930),” “Sally Bowles,” and “On Ruegen Island”

Week 22 (Mar 21 + 23)

  • Goodbye to Berlin, “The Nowaks,” “The Landauers,” and “A Berlin Diary (Winter 1932-3)”
  • Second Term Essay due March 25th

Week 23 (Mar 28 + 30)

  • Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, to p. 56 in Penguin (“A glance in the direction of his sister…”)

Week 24 (Apr 4 + 6)

  • Untouchable, to end.
  • Final thoughts

Marking Scheme

Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Assignment #1: Creative Intervention (15%)
  • Assignment #2: Archival Research (15%)
  • First Term Essay (20%)
  • Second Term Essay (25%)
  • Participation (25%)

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 online via Quercus.


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.