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ENGL2215 Modernism and the Avant-garde

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the English and Literary Studies major sequence
  • Level 2 elective
World War I was seen by many young artists of the time as a cultural as well as a political crisis—as the culmination and damnation of Western culture as it was consolidated in the nineteenth century. This disillusionment led to the experimental art practices that became known collectively as the avant-garde, which found their most radical and tumultuous expressions in the period between 1914 and 1930. This unit offers an opportunity to focus on 'High' modernist texts, by placing them in historical context and tracing the ways in which they contest established ideas of the reader, personal identity, sexuality, perception and aesthetics, and explores technology and popular culture. In keeping with modernism's cosmopolitanism the unit looks at texts from England, Europe and the USA, and ranges through literary and filmic genres.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate a sophisticated knowledge of some early twentieth-century literary and cinematic texts in relation to the historical and cultural conditions of their production and reception; (2) interpret modernist literary and cinematic texts independently through analysis of relevant scholarly information and creative material concerning modernism; (3) have a critical understanding of the role played by ideologies of race, gender and class in modernist contexts and texts; (4) express original arguments in oral and written formats; and (5) apply, knowingly and appropriately, highly developed skills of textual analysis, critical reasoning, interpretation and research.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) exercise; and (3) essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Tanya Dalziell
Unit rules
any Level 1 English unit
ENGL3605 Modernism
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week; tutorials: 2 hours per week (over 10 weeks)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.