Modernism and Avant Garde

Subject ENGL20022 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

106-227 Modernism and Avant Garde

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Sarah Balkin


Subject Overview:

This subject examines modernism, the movement in literature and other arts that lasted from roughly 1890 to 1950. Rather than trying to survey every major modernist writer, we will emphasize a number of significant figures and movements. Course readings will include novels, short fiction, essays, poetry, plays, and manifestos by writers such as James Joyce (on whose Ulysses we will spend two weeks), August Strindberg, W.B. Yeats, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Aimé Césaire, and Jean Genet. In addition to working across genres, our course, like modernism, will work across national literatures. Students will learn about modernist movements and contexts such as dada, futurism, surrealism, symbolism, expressionism, theatre of the absurd, the African-American cultural revolution known as the Harlem Renaissance, the francophone négritude movement, and the queer enclaves of Paris’s Left Bank and New York City’s Greenwich Village.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of representative examples of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts;
  • articulate the relationship between decadent literary works and the social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
  • apply high-level analysis, conceptual sophistication and critical thinking to the study of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts and the controversies they;
  • contribute to the understanding of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts in ways that engage the interests of the discipline of literary studies;
  • effectively communicate an understanding of Modernist and Avant-Garde texts and their contexts in both written and oral formats;
  • have gained an understanding of how to act as critically informed participants within a community of literature scholars, as citizens and in the work force at large.

A 1200 word essay 35% (due mid-semester), one in-class presentation and write-up equivalent to 800 words 15% (during the semester), a 2000 word essay 50% (due in the examination period).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of assessment must be completed to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

1. A Subject Reader will be available from the Co-op bookstore.

2. August Strindberg, Miss Julie and Other Plays (Oxford)

3. James Joyce, Ulysses (Oxford)

4. W.B. Yeats, Yeats's Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Norton)

5. Alain Locke, The New Negro (Touchstone)

6. Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings (Vintage)

7. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (New Directions)

8. Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (Wesleyan UP)

9. Jean Genet, The Maids and Deathwatch: Two Plays (Grove)

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:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;
  • be able to develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;
  • be able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.

Students who have completed 673-342 Modernism and Avant Garde are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English and Theatre Studies
European Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - English and Theatre Studies

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