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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Modernism and Empire (ENLI11139)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaEnglish Literature Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course explores the relationship between European imperialism and literary modernism, focusing primarily on British colonial contexts and legacies (in South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific), but also engaging with other European empires (such as the French Caribbean and the Belgian Congo). We will analyse a range of texts published from the 1890s through to 1960, exploring the centrality of empire to various phases of literary modernism. Both late colonialism and modernism share many of the same structuring discourses, such as concerns over the decline and decay of ¿Western¿ civilization, and a preoccupation with finding new ways of defining human subjectivity and alterity (in the wake of the collapse of enlightenment humanism, and the rise of psychoanalytical and social Darwinist paradigms). We will explore the relationship between anxieties about the imperialist project, and certain stylistic and thematic innovations in modernist literature, including: (i) the preoccupation with Western degeneration (which is interpreted by some modernist writers as a consequence of inter-racial contact and miscegenation, while others hold that Western culture can be revitalised by outside cultural and artistic influences); (ii) a preoccupation with multiple subjectivities and limited/unreliable narrators; (iii) experiments with symbolism and imagism as alternatives to Victorian realism and positivism. We will question the degree to which modernism was complicit with, or opposed to, imperialism, exploring texts produced by British authors (such as George Orwell, Leonard Woolf and Joyce Cary) who participated in the administration of British imperial territories, as well as the work of writers more peripheral to the workings of empire (such as Joseph Conrad, and women writers such as Jean Rhys and Katherine Mansfield). We will also consider how modernism was taken up by writers (such as Mulk Raj Anand and Aimé Césaire) situated at the colonial ¿margins¿, investigating cross-cultural friendships and alliances (such as those between E.M. Forster and Anand, and Ezra Pound and Rabindranath Tagore), as well as counter-discursive interventions by postcolonial writers such as Chinua Achebe, whose novel No Longer at Ease (1960) serves as a riposte to Cary¿s Mister Johnson (1939).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  15
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 26/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, through contributions to group discussion, independent reading, and assessed and non-assessed work, students will be able to:

- Understand the ways in which empire and its legacies has contributed to certain thematic and stylistic innovations in British (and other) literary modernism(s).

- Develop a critical vocabulary for analysing the thematics and aesthetics of modernist writing, drawing upon a range of theory and criticism (including, inter alia, formalist, Marxist, postmodernist and postcolonial perspectives).

- Analyse the active contribution of writers and cultures on the colonial 'periphery' to developments in (and critiques of) literary modernism.
- Articulate (in written and oral forms) a considered, informed sense of the breadth and range of responses to imperialism in course texts.

- Reflect on good learning practice.

Assessment Information
-Assessment is by a single course essay, the topic of which you devise in consultation with me. The word length (for taught MSc students) is 4,000 words (see your programme handbook for submission details).
-You are also required to submit a 1,000 word essay plan one month before your essay deadline. This essay plan will not receive a mark, but will form the basis of written feedback given by the course organiser with a view to helping you prepare for your summative assessment. The plan should include:
a) A principal research question
b) A list of primary texts and relevant critical material (ie secondary sources)
c) An outline of your argument and method.
Special Arrangements
MSc only
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 2: Course introduction;
Administration, miscegenation and degeneration: Joseph Conrad, 'An Outpost of Progress' (1897); Rudyard Kipling, 'Regulus' (1917) and 'Kidnapped' (1888); Robert Louis Stevenson, 'The Ebb-Tide' (1894); W. Somerset Maugham, 'Rain' (1921)
Week 3: Ezra Pound and 'The East': Pound's ideogrammatic poetry and the Chinese Cantos; Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali poems (1912)
Week 4: E.M. Forster, A Passage to India (1924)
Week 5: Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (1935)
Week 6: Leonard Woolf, 'Pearls and Swine' (1921) and selected letters; George Orwell, 'Shooting an Elephant' (1936)
Week 7: Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (1937)
Week 8: Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories.
Week 9: Aimé Césaire, Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939; using the Bloodaxe translation, Notebook of a Return to my Native Land (1995))
Week 10: Joyce Cary, Mister Johnson (1939) and 'Umaru' (1921)
Week 11: Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease (1960)
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Primary Texts (compulsory purchase):
Achebe, Chinua, No Longer at Ease (Penguin, 2010, ISBN 0141191554)
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. (Penguin, 1989, 0140183957)
Cary, Joyce, Mister Johnson (Faber and Faber, 2009, 0571252095)
Césaire, Aimé, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land (Bloodaxe, 1995, 1852241845)
Forster, E.M. A Passage to India (Penguin, 1998, 0140274235)
Mansfield, Katherine, Selected Stories (ed. Angela Smith) (Oxford University Press, 2008, 9780199537358).
Pound, Ezra, Selected Poems and Translations (Faber and Faber, 2011, 0571239005)
Rhys, Jean, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin, 2000, 0141183950)
Stevenson, Robert Louis, South Seas Tales (ed. Roslyn Jolly) (Oxford University Press, 2008, 9780199536085.
Tagore, Rabindranath. Gitanjali (Full Circle, 2004, 8176211125)
Woolf, Leonard. Stories of the East. (Long Riders' Guild Press, 2007, 1590482530)
[Other material is available on Learn via e-reserve.]
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Michelle Keown
Tel: (0131 6)50 6856
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)51 3988
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