Skip to main content

Unit information: Transatlantic Women Modernists in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Transatlantic Women Modernists
Unit code ENGL20042
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kennedy-Epstein
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will look at the gender in and of modernism, on both sides of the Atlantic, paying particular attention to the ways in which transatlantic literary and feminist networks shaped the writing of the period. Many of the writers we will read were travellers or immigrants, their lives and works shaped by the world wars and colonialism, and this sense of movement will allow us to better understand the historical and political spaces the texts occupied, from the cosmopolitan centres to the colonies. Considering poetry, prose, and reportage, we will think about how formal conceits were developed to write about these shifting communities, and to respond to changing notions of race, class, nation, and gender. We will ask what makes these works ‘modern,’ exploring the influences on their writing of psychoanalysis, women’s suffrage, access to birth-control, Marxist politics, and print culture.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have

(1) developed a detailed knowledge of modernist writing by women;

(2) developed a critical understanding of the forms, politics and contexts that influenced the transatlantic culture of modernist writing;

(3) acquired an understanding of major critical approaches in modernist, gender, and feminist literary studies;

(4) demonstrated their ability to analyse and compare texts, as well as engage different critical approaches;

(5) strengthened their skills in academic writing, argumentation, and evaluation of evidence from primary texts and critical literature.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour seminar per week.

Assessment Information

  • 1 essay of 2000 words (40%)
  • 1 essay of 3000 words (60%)

The 2000 word summative essay assesses ILOs 1-3 and 5. The 3000 word summative essay assesses ILOs 1-5.

Reading and References

Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (London: Faber and Faber, 2007)

Nella Larsen, Passing and Quicksand, ed. by Davis (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1986)

Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (London: Penguin Modern Classics, 2000)

Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas (London: Vintage 1996)

Bonnie Kime Scott, The Gender in Modernism: New Geographies, Complex Intersections (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2007)

Shari Benstock, Women of the Left Bank: Paris 1900-1940 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987)