Modern and Contemporary Literature

Subject 106-102 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week, 5 additional hours/week
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Jennifer Rutherford, Prof Ken Gelder


Ken Gelder
Jennifer Rutherford

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to some of the key texts of modern and contemporary literature, across several genres: poetry, drama, the short story, the novel, and the filmscript. Modern and contemporary writers struggle with issues of representation, aesthetics and politics in an era of dramatic social change, and offer some intriguing reflections and meditations on the role of literature and the formation of literary tradition. This subject will explore the thematic and formal innovations of twentieth-century writing and some of the controversies and contexts of twentieth-century literature. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical framework for interpreting these texts in the light of current trends in literary criticism and critical theory. Students who successfully complete this subject will have a background of relevant knowledge and critical and interpretative skills on which to base further work in English Literary Studies.

  • have an understanding of some of the thematic and formal innovations as well as the controversies and contexts of early twentieth-century literature;
  • have an awareness of the relevance of recent innovations in literary-critical methodology to the study of early twentieth-century literature;
  • have acquired relevant research skills including use of the library, referencing and presentation of written work;
  • be able to apply flexible reading strategies and writing practices to the material studied;
  • have a background of relevant knowledge and methodologies, both critical and theoretical, on which to base further studies in English and Cultural Studies.

Written work of 4000 words comprising a text-based exercise of 800 words worth 20% (due early in semester), an essay of 1200 words worth 30% (due mid-semester) and an essay of 2000 words worth 50% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of nine tutorials in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader including a selection of critical and secondary material will be available.

  • To the Lighthouse (Woolf)
  • The Waste Land (Eliot)
  • The Floating World (Romeril)
  • Waiting for Godot (Beckett)
  • Dubliners (Joyce)
  • after the quake (2000; trans 2002) (Murakami)
  • Collected Poems (Forbes)
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour (Duras)
  • The God of Small Things (Roy)
  • If on a Winter's Night a Traveller (Calvino)
  • Selected Poems (Plath)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop critical self-awareness and shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;

  • be able to communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major

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