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
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • 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)
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.