ENGL 462A (3 cr): The Modern British and Irish Novel

Course Description
This Modern British and Irish Novel course examines developments in the novel and its milieu from the turn of the 20th century to 1930. Readings of six novels and material about their social contexts give you the opportunity to explore the major preoccupations of various British (and one Irish) modernists, both aesthetic (including narrative voice, experiments in reproducing individual perception, novel shape and focus, the influence of visual arts movements) and political (including first wave feminism, questions concerning gender constructs, anti-industrialism, the end of empire). We will also discuss various constructions of the modernist canon, including that created by the Leavisites and New Critics, that revised by feminists and post-colonial and race critics/historians in the latter half of the 20th century, and that presented more recently by the “new modernisms.” The course offers the opportunity to read two works by Virginia Woolf, and one by each of James Joyce (optional), D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and Vita Sackville-West. You will be encouraged to read beyond the text list, and to discuss related texts from the period. Where possible, you will be encouraged to access relevant supporting material, including films, through the UBC Library.

English 462A offers pertinent upper-level credits to students taking an English Major and to those in the Honours program; it offers 3 upper-level Literature credits for the Arts requirement; and it also offers a good choice (as an elective) for senior students in other programmes and faculties. Teachers updating their qualifications will also find the course, which emphasizes literary analysis, interdisciplinarity, and contextual readings, of use.

Students must have completed 6 credits of first-year English courses or the equivalent, and have achieved third-year standing to enroll in this course. Please note this is a 4th year course and is designed and graded as such.

Structure of the Course

  • Module 1: Victorians and Transitions
  • Module 2: Modernist Historiography and Connections
  • Module 3: D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love
  • Module 4: E. M. Forster, A Passage to India
  • Module 5: Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Module 6: Vita Sackville-West: Seducers in Ecuador
  • Module 7: Modernism’s Legacy: Orlando, Then and Now
  • Optional Module: James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Required Reading Materials

Students must purchase/acquire (available through UBC Bookstore):

  • D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke (Ed.) Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 2nd Ed.. Broadview Press, 1999.
  • D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love. Oxford Paperbacks. 2008.
  • E.M. Forster, Passage to India. Penguin Classics. 2005.
  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse. Broadview Press. 2000.

The other course texts and the associated criticism will be available for free to you in the form of course pdfs, direct streaming provided by CTLT, or articles available through the UBC library.

ENGL462A Textbook Order Form