Approved by Faculty Senate. Revised November 17, 2003  (Remove Oral flag effective fall semester 2004)


English 305: Modernism and Postmodernism

Catalog Description: A survey of 20th Century literature introducing prospective teachers to major texts, issues, and innovations of the era. Special attention to the works of women and to multicultural literature.

University Studies Oral Communication Flag: This course satisfies a portion of the University Studies Oral Communication requirement. You will:

a. Earn significant course credit (30%) through extemporaneous oral presentations.

b. Understand the features and types of speaking in the discipline.

c. Adapt your speaking to field-specific audiences.

d. Receive appropriate feedback from the instructor and your peers.

e. Make use of the technologies used for research and speaking in the field.

f. Learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in English.


Students will demonstrate their mastery of the following department


1) English majors should know several methodologies of reading and interpretation, be acquainted with the premises and arguments that each pursues, and be familiar with the issues connected to choosing one method over another.

2) English majors should have an understanding of the critical and historical principles behind the construction of literary and cultural histories. They should know the terminology of literary periods, be aware of controversies about establishing distinctions between periods, and understand the various views of the transitions between periods.

4) All English majors should have the experience of reading texts drawn from the full diversity of literary periods and genres, written by authors representing the full range of social, ethnic, and national origins that have shaped English literature. They should also have experience reading critical texts, expository prose, and types of writing that have frequently not been used in the curriculum of the major, including the writing of their fellow students.

6) All English majors should understand how their education translates into their lives and careers outside the classroom. An ultimate aim of the English major should be to become a well-rounded human being with intellectual interests in a wide variety of ideas and ways of life, not only in literature and language, but also in social and ethical issues important to citizens of a changing world and democratic society.


Damrosch, et al. Longman Anthology of British Literature 2c: The Twentieth Century (LABL)

Perkins and Perkins. The American Tradition in Literature, Volume II. (TATL)


Attendance and participation: are expected. You are advanced students of literature and will participate in class discussion. Absences will be noted and excessive absence (more than 3 without excuse) will result in a grade deduction. Attendance on presentation/groups days is especially noticed.

Late work: is a pain. I will, however, accept it only with advance notice or a bona fide emergency (death or dismemberment). As a general rule, late work will receive a grade but no commentary. Late work coupled with several absences may be refused.

Incompletes: are also a pain. I will, however, offer them to students who have completed all the assignments save one and who have a genuine emergency or otherwise valid reason expressed to me IN ADVANCE of the end of the semester. Because incompletes offer time for additional work not available to other students, the best grade available is a B.

Reading: Each of the problem projects will require reading novels in addition to regular course readings. Additional texts for this course may be chosen from the following:

James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain.

Djuna Barnes. Nightwood.

Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street.

Don DeLillo, White Noise

J.P. Donleavy, The Ginger Man

Lawrence Durrell, Justine

Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Absolom, Absolom

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Charles Johnson, An Ox-Herding Tale, The Middle Passage

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

Jack Kerouac, On the Road, The Dharma Bums

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge

Toni Morrison, Beloved, Song of Solomon

George Orwell, 1984, Animal Farm

Ezra Pound, ABCs of Reading, How to Read a Book.

Richard Powers, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance

E. Annie Proulx. Accordian Crimes

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

Henry Roth, Call It Sleep

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories

Art Spiegelman, Maus.

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Jean Toomer, Cane

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughter-house Five

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse

Richard Wright, Native Son or Black Boy

3 Strands of Problems and Assignments

Teaching: What Makes a Text Teachable?

Some texts find their way into the literary canon by virtue of their need for interpretation. Others because they offer a lesson, message, or methodology that will benefit students. Your task is to explore some of the issues that arise from this phenomenon: Can a text ever "speak for itself"? Does education merely reproduce the values of the institutions that provide education (the reproduction of the same)? What makes a text "unteachable"? What about censorship?


Lesson Plan: (Scheduled close to the author in syllabus) Students will prepare and present a lesson on a text for the course. This may be a collaborative project. The assignment will include the following:

bulletAn extended extemporaneous oral presentation of the text and your teaching plan. (This will account for 20% of the Lesson Plan grade) bulletAn outline of the lesson including page/line references to text, bulletA brief outline of the critical reception of the text/author, and of the historical context bulletA list of discussion questions bulletA class activity bulletA detailed description of how this lesson would contribute to a unit plan or to the course you envision teaching bulletA brief, but annotated, bibliography.

In other words, you'll be providing your peers with most of what a teacher might need before teaching the text in classrooms of their own. In order to copy these materials for the class, I will need them at least one class period before the presentation. (50%)

Poem Explication: A five-to-seven page close-reading and interpretation of a poem (20%). NOT the poem for your Lesson, however.

Recitation: A 20th Century poem of more than 10 lines, from memory. (10 %)

Final Essay: Your response (at least 5 pages) to one of the questions raised above (or of your own design) which also focuses on a text for the course (and the novels you read from the list) and its virtues or faults as a teachable text. (20%)

Writing: Style and Individuality

The 20th Century is marked by a vast array of stylistic experiments, from Finnegan’s Wake to LANGUAGE poetry. All the greats are distinguishable by their style ("Oh, that’s soooo Faulknerian"). But what is style? When you study a writer’s style what are you studying? Is style a writer’s fingerprint? The modernist exploration of individuality—and the postmodern explosion of the concept—has everything to do with style.


Class Presentation: Prepare and deliver a 10 minute extemporaneous oral presentation on the stylistic features of the writer you’ve studied. Your discussion should direct others to typical works, key stylistic features, and how the chosen writer fits in to the tradition or among his or her contemporaries. (20%)

Poetry and prose imitations: 1 poem of at least 10 lines and one prose passage of at least 1page. These will be original works that come as close as possible to being new works by older authors. Parody, homage, and direct literary thievery are all acceptable. (10 %)

Recitation: A 20th Century poem of more than 10 lines, from memory. (10 %)

Anatomy of a Style: Apply your definition to an individual text or to several texts of one author. While you may apply the skills you’ve picked up in Stylistics, look beyond the linguistic features to address such issues as how a writer creates "effects," the connection between subject matter and style, how the writer distinguishes herself from her contemporaries (with specific reference to the novels you read from the list above), and some sense of the writer’s influence. (30 %)

Literary History: High/Low/Pop

What makes "serious literature" serious? Must art be difficult, elitist, the object of critique and interpretation? What about the art that influences the lives of millions—comics and sitcoms, for example? What is beneath the notice of the critic? Aren’t James Joyce and the Three Stooges inherently different? And what about class? Or race? Or gender? Don’t these determine what is in the anthologies and what is not? These questions have perplexed artists and critics throughout the 20th Century. Their responses to them have produced much of the literature and art of the era.


Class presentation: Prepare and deliver a 20 minute extemporaneous speech on one of the key innovations of literary modernism or postmodernism. Prepare to discuss the work’s relationship to the canon and the work’s influence on other writers of the genre and period. What makes the work "serious" literature (or not)? (20 %)

Hypothesis: A 3-to-5-page paper in which you formulate a question/thesis/hypothesis in response to the questions above. Explain why the hypothesis is interesting and speculate on what you hope to discover. Narrowing the topic is crucial. (10 %)

Discovery: A one page discovery paper about one thing you’ve learned from your research: the pleasures of a text, a factoid, a turn of phrase, a theory, a new connection, whatever trips yr trigger. (10 %)

Recitation: A 20th Century poem of more than 10 lines, from memory. (10 %). Schedule yours during my regular office hours.

Annotated Bibliography: At least 10 works: books, journals, internet. (10 %)

Thesis: An essay of at least 10 pages that presents your findings, addressing in detail one of the novels from the above list (40 %)

Syllabus: EN 415: Modernism/Postmodernism

Dr. Gary Eddy Hours: M,W,F: 10-12, 1-2

Minne 322, 457-5633 T, R: 2-3

Key: LABL = Longman Anthology of British Literature

TATL = The American Tradition in Literature


29 TATL: Pound 982-96. LABL: 2191-2225

31 LABL: 2226-44


Labor Day

5 LABL: Jones, In Parenthesis: 2245-65, Graves, Goodbye: 2280-94

7 TATL: Eliot 1003-17, 1031-34

10 TATL: Eliot: "The Wasteland"

12 TATL: Stein: 922-41

14 LABL: Joyce, Dubliners: 2332-38, 2352-79

17 LABL: Joyce (cont’d) 2379-2416

19 TATL: Lowell, 1041-44; H.D.: 1049-53, MacLeish: 1170-74. LABL: Fry: 2552-59

21TATL: Moore: 1090-1106. LABL: 2563-71.

24 LABL: Woolf: 2453-99

26 LABL: Woolf: 2499-2526, 2559-62

28 LABL: Lawrence, The Fox: 2571-2614


1 LABL: Yeats: 2295-2331

3 Yeats (cont’d)

5 Presentations (skip at yr peril). Definition essays, Hypothesis essays due.

8 TATL: Stevens, 1054-71

10 Stevens (cont’d). LABL: Auden: 2656-77.

Fall Break Day

15 TATL: Faulkner: 2236-71; Hemingway: 1272-85

17 Faulkner and Hemingway (cont’d)

19 TATL: Fitzgerald: 1205-1220. LABL: Waugh (and Monty Python): 2626-33

22 TATL: Harlem Renaissance: Harris,629-33; Toomer, Cullen, Hughes, 1191-1205; Hurston, 1300-7;

24 Harlem 2: TATL: R. Wright, 1316-23, Ellison, 1518-28 .

26 Presentations (again, peril). Explications due

29 TATL: O’Neill, 1126-55. BA majors should look at Dos Passos, too

31 TATL: Williams and the Mod/Pomo Turn (1071-90), Jeffers, 1155; Cummings: 1179-91


2 Williams, cont’d. TATL: Roethke, Bishop, 1452-65; Brooks, 1476-81. Drop deadline

5 LABL: Spender, Bowen, Thomas, and Beckett. BST Majors should look at the Orwell, Rushdie essays. BA majors should look at Churchill. BAW majors should also look up more Thomas poems.

7 TATL: Cheever, Baldwin, O’Connor, Albee, Updike, Bellow.

9 TATL: Shadows I: Eliot/Stevens: Bly, Merwin, J. Wright, Rich, Milosz, Brodsky.

Veterans’ Day

14 New Fictions: TATL: Barth, Pynchon, Carver, Nabokov.

16 New Voices: Morrison, Tan, Erdrich, Mukherjee.

19 Shadows II: Williams: Ammons, Ginsberg, Snyder, Levertov,

26: Post/Colonial: LABL: Kureishi, 2777-2830. Also: "Whose Language section," 2842-97.

28: Reader’s choice: Choose 1 work you’d like to revisit.

30: Presentation/Groups.Discovery essays, Imitations due.


3: Final lecture: Post-post-modernism?

5 Oral Presentations

7 Oral Presentations (cont’d). Final essays due for all strands

University Studies Course Approval—Oral Communication Flags


Department or Program English


Course Numbers 303, 304, 305, 402


Semester Hours 303, 304, 305: 3; 402: 4


Frequency of Offering each—every year


Course Titles British and American Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism, Modernism and Postmodernism, Teaching Secondary English


Catalog Description varies


These are existing courses previously approved

by A2C2 yes


This is a new course proposal no


Proposal Category Oral Communication Flag

____(Remove Oral flag effective fall semester 2004)____________________________________________________________________

Department Contact Gary Eddy


Email Address









EN 303 British and American Romanticism

EN 304 Realism and Naturalism

EN 305 Modernism and Postmodernism

EN 402 Teaching Secondary English


General Rationale:

EN 303, 304, and 305 to be required of all Bachelor of Arts and Communication Arts and Literature majors, and EN 402 required of Communication Arts and Literature majors, call upon students to make connections among texts of certain time periods (and those before and after) and between literature and history. Their success relies on discussion and oral presentation of research. EN 402 specifically requires students to teach lessons in the classroom. For all the above courses oral communication skills will be fostered and developed in these courses in particular in the English curriculum.

These courses merit the writing flag in that they:

--have section enrollments of 25 or fewer*; they are thus relatively small classes that therefore allow for clear guidance and feedback from the instructor

--require students to make at least one individual and several small group oral presentations in these courses. These presentations will be based on research designed and constructed by the students themselves.

--require the instructor to provide direction for these projects, offer support and advice on oral presentation skills, and assess student accomplishment.

--demand student accountability and quality work. The total percentage of the grade based on these presentations and discussions will vary by instructor but will be at least 10% of the final grade. As students must complete all assignments for these courses, those who do not complete the oral communication components will not pass these courses.

These courses include requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to

a. earn significant course credit through extemporaneous oral presentations. Participation in class discussion is a requirement of many courses in the department, but in the literary history courses a significant percentage of the final grade for the course will be based upon both structured formal research presentations as well as daily discussion of the texts of the course. Please see the attached syllabi (Appendix A) for EN304 and 402 for detailed descriptions of the assignments. In the attached examples, the oral presentation component constitutes approximately 20% of the final grade. In EN 402 prospective teachers will present lessons before the class and instructor. This portion of the course constitutes approximately 30% of the final grade.

b. understand the features and types of speaking in their disciplines. The oral research presentations demonstrate the key skills of professionals in the fields of literature and writing. They call upon students to understand, organize, and clearly communicate complex information in an informal setting. This is the skill of the teacher, of the student in the graduate seminar, and of the writer at a writing conference. The presentations will therefore be assessed on their understanding of the research, the organization of the presentation and the clarity of the delivery. To prepare students for this task, instructors will address the key features of speaking in the discipline, the various contexts for oral communication, and the skills required of the presenter.

c. adapt their speaking to field-specific audiences. Students will have the background (terminology, research skills, reading ability, organizational skills) to succeed in oral presentations because these skills are inculcated in EN 290 Literary Studies. They will

apply these skills before an audience of well-read, informed students of literature. Their presentation of research will include introducing sources, citing (and reciting) lines of verse or text; contextualizing comments; responding to questions and criticism from the audience.

d. receive appropriate feedback from teachers and peers, including suggestions for improvement. While individual instructors may vary in the forms of their responses to student oral presentations, all do provide a variety of methods of feedback. Attached (Appendix B) is a presentation rubric handed out to students in advance of the first presentation. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions during the class period and may offer feedback afterward via a brief response rubric.


e. make use of the technologies used for research and speaking in the field. Students will be expected to make use of the on-line databases (J-STOR, ERIC, e.g.) and may choose to use such presentation software as Powerpoint or to make use of networked classroom facilities. Students will also be encouraged to use the internet as part of the research process.

f. learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields. Students will be expected to use textual evidence to support claims, introduce and integrate primary and secondary research materials; and to speak correctly and appropriately for the audience. Often presentations will include student-produced handouts that will provide annotated bibliographies or other directions for further research.

If students complete all of the above successfully, their success will enhance their final grades.


*Note to department: Pending department approval

EN 303-305 ask students to make connections between literature and the social and cultural history of the past two centuries and between historical periods. The classroom will be a place for students to theorize and to express their ideas and connections and for the instructor to amplify the information presented. Thus, instructors will be


English Department Oral Communication Flag: An Introduction for Students

This course is designed to satisfy the requirements of the WSU University Studies program by providing you with experiences in oral communication aimed at enhancing your skills as a communicator. As a student in this course you will:

a. Earn significant credit through extemporaneous oral presentations. Much of your success in the course will be determined by the ways you communicate your ideas and research to others. This is a crucial facet of the work of the discipline for professionals, academicians, and students alike. The percentage of the grade devoted to presentations will vary, but it will be impossible to earn an A in a course without a successful presentation.

b. Understand the features and types of speaking in the discipline of English. Scholars of literature and writing will find themselves presenting their ideas and research at professional conferences, before audiences of their peers, and to audiences outside the discipline. Among the types of speaking expected of professionals we find the following most common: oral presentations of research, responding to questions, public readings, delivery of speeches or talks on a variety of topics, and classroom presentations of texts and research.

c. Adapt your speaking to field-specific audiences. Specialized audiences in the field of literature and language study have specific requirements that must be met if they are to fully engage the ideas or research of a speaker. We will address these in class and they will constitute a significant portion of the grade for oral presentations.

d. Receive appropriate feedback from teachers and peers, including suggestions for improvement. While much of what we consider feedback for oral presentations in our discipline amounts to audience questions and polite applause, the criteria for successful presentations in the course will be made explicit and your performance will be evaluated, in some cases by peers exclusively, in others by the teacher alone, and in others by some combination of the two. There will be formative critique to ensure a good performance as well as summative critique that evaluates the performance.

e. Learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in literary studies. The course will introduce you to the differences between oral and written conventions, emphasizing the ways in which oral communicators use textual and research evidence in speeches and presentations of various forms specific to the field.