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Modernist Fiction (Non-credit)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

In the early decades of the 20th century, modernist writers developed distinctive new strategies in order to capture and explore the experience of modern life. By looking at short and longer fiction, we shall examine a number of diverse, innovative and challenging works. We shall discuss not only texts but also contexts and relevant critical debates to ground our reading. No prior knowledge is necessary.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge is required.

Content of Course

1. Introduction.

2. Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories.

3. James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

4. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse.

5. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

6. Nella Larsen, Passing.

7. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.

Teaching method(s)

Teaching is based around guided discussion with contextualisation and introductory material supplied by the tutor.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Read actively rather than passively;

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the vocabulary of literary analysis;

  • Explain and apply correctly terms such as ‘modern’ and postmodern’;

  • Assess and account for the form, structure and content of the texts studied.


Core Readings


  • Ellison, Ralph. 2001. Invisible Man (1952). London: Penguin.

  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott. 2000. The Great Gatsby (1925). London: Penguin.

  • Joyce, James. 2000. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). London: Penguin

  • Larsen, Nella. 2001. Passing. (1929) In The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen. New York: Anchor/ Random House.

  • Mansfield, Katherine. 2008. Selected Stories, ed. by Angela Smith. Oxford World's Classics.

  • Woolf, Virginia. 1992. To the Lighthouse (1927). London: Penguin

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.