ENGL419A - Major British Writers after 1800: Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Julian Barnes

This course offers an extended study of four major British writers since 1900: modernists Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence and postmodernists Kazuo Ishiguro and Julian Barnes. Through these major writers, we’ll consider some of the dominant formal and philosophical trends in modern, postmodern, and contemporary British literature. We’ll think, for instance, about modernism’s crisis of representation, its uncertainty about the possibility of representing the world or the self in art, and relatedly, about the development of literary impressionism. Similarly, we’ll consider postmodernism’s simultaneous focus on globalized cultures and contingent or local histories, and its related formal appeal to pastiche and parody. These four writers’ work—spanning fiction, poetry, and criticism—will also offer a lens for examining the influence of key cultural events or trends on twentieth- and twenty-first-century British literature, trends like the development and evolution of feminism and the process of decolonization that marked the end of the British Empire, and events like the two world wars. Texts for the course include: Virginia Woolf’s novels To the Lighthouse (1927) and Between the Acts (1941), as well as criticism like A Room of One’s Own (1929); D.H. Lawrence’s novels The Fox (1923) and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), as well as selections from his Collected Poems (1929) and his essay “Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious” (1920); Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels The Remains of the Day (1989), When We Were Orphans (2000), and Never Let Me Go (2005); and Julian Barnes’s novels England, England (1998) and Arthur and George (2005).


Two English courses in literature or permission of department.