Course Description

Course Name

Bodies of Modernism

Session: VPGS1324

Hours & Credits

6 ECTS Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


1.    Course Description
The modernist movement rose in response to the social, political, and technological changes from the turn of the 20th century and has been commonly characterised as focusing on individual subjectivity and psychology. More recent research has turned its attention to the body and its position in a material environment, which has equally pre-occupied modernists who explored diverse forms of embodiment. This seminar will inquire into modes of embodiment including racialised, gendered, and disabled bodies in the work of the main modernist authors, alongside marginalised voices.

2.    Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
●    have a clear grasp of a wide variety of forms of European and American modernism in literature, as well the main literary movements within the period.
●    develop an understanding of the aesthetic, socio-historical, political, philosophical, and scientific factors that played a role in the advent of modernism.
●    interpret key modernist works in their historical context.
●    gain experience in applying theoretical concepts in the study of cultural products.
●    improve the skills of independent study, critical thinking, judicious use of secondary sources, close reading, academic writing, and independent research.

3.    Reading Material
Required Materials
All materials are available on NEO

Conrad, Joseph (1999). Heart of Darkness. Ontario: Broadview Press.
Nichols, Bill. (1991). Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Mansfield, Katherine (2014). “How Pearl Button was Kidnapped” in: The Collected Fiction of Katherine Mansfield Vol. 1, 1898-1915. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Mansfield, Katherine (2014). “The Garden Party” in: The Collected Fiction of Katherine Mansfield Vol. 2, 1916-1922. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Bergson, Henry (1946). The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, translated by Mabelle L. Andison. New York: The Philosophical Library of New York.
Hughes, Langston (1994). The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. New York: Vintage Classics.
Du Bois, W.E.B. (2007). The Souls of Black Folk. Oxford University Press.
Hurston, Zora Neale (1990). Their Eyes Were Watching God. Perennial Library.
Clarke, Deborah (2001). "The Porch Couldn't Talk for Looking": Voice and Vision in Their Eyes Were Watching God. In African American Review 35:4, pp. 599-613.
Brasell, Bruce (1997). “A Seed for Change: The Engenderment of ‘A Florida Enchantment’”. In Cinema Journal 36:4, pp. 3-21.
Woolf, Virginia (2002). Orlando. New York: Rosetta Books.
Micir, Melanie (2016). Queer Woolf. In Jessica Berman (ed.) A Companion ot Virginia Woolf, pp. 347-358.
Barnes, Djuna (2006). Nightwood. New York: New Directions.
Mann, Molly (2021). “Queer Hunger: Human and Animal Bodies in Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood”. In Veg(etari)an Arguments in Culture, History, and Practice: The V Word, edited by Cristina Hanganu-Bresch and Kristin Kondrlik. Palgrave Macmillan.
Lawrence, D. H (1922). “The Blind Man”. In England my England and other Stories. New York: Thomas Seltzer.
Linett, Maren Tova (2013). Bodies of Modernism: Physical Disability in Transatlantic Modernist Literature. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Joyce, James (2000). Ulysses. London: Penguin.
Gifford Don and Robert J. Seidman (1989). Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce’s Ulysses. University of California Press.
Beckett, Samuel (2012). The Complete Dramatic Works. London: faber and faber.
Levin, Yael (2018). “Univocity, Exhaustion and Failing Better: Reading Beckett with Disability Studies”. In Journal of Samuel Beckett Studies 27:2, pp. 157-174.
Fusco, Katherine (2018). “‘Feast Your Eyes, Glut Your Soul’: Lon Chaney, Tod Browning, Disfigurement, and the Limits of Redemptive Affects”. In Cinema Journal 57:4, pp. 47-70.

Recommended Materials
●    Bradshaw David, Laura Marcus and Rebecca Roach (2016). Moving Modernism: Motion, Technology, and Modernity. Oxford: Oxford UP.
●    Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter (1992), Zone 6: Incorporations, NY: Zone Books.
●    Maren, Linett Tova (2017), Bodies of Modernism: Physical Disability in Transatlantic Modernist Literature, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
●    Platt, Len (ed.) (2011), Modernism and race, Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

4.    Teaching methodology
The sessions will combine introductory comments by the instructor, presentations and/or screenings focused on the historical, philosophical and aesthetic background of the assigned material, and detailed discussions of the assigned reading. M.A. students will be required to read additional materials beyond the main texts studied in class, as listed in the Required Materials section.

*Course content subject to change