Make it new: European and American modernism

Course Dates: 28/09/23 - 30/11/23
Time: 19:00 - 21:00
Location: Online
Modernism was a period defined by radical thinking boldly proclaimed in manifestos and expressed through a variety of different art forms. Within literature, pre-conceived notions of narrative and syntax were challenged, characters were developed using insights drawn from psychology, and poets explored the visual representation of their words on the page. As boundaries were extended, new ‘isms’ were born. Through following the development of Modernist literature in Europe and America, this course will compare the changes in the written word to the changes occurring within art, architecture, music and film.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £229.00 Senior fee £229.00 Concession £149.00

Course Code: HLT256

Thu, eve, 28 Sep - 30 Nov '23

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online literature course explores a variety of poems and prose extracts, as well as art and photography, to build a European and American view of Modernism.
We will read a selection of poems and prose extracts, as well as extracts from manifestos, letters and diaries. Additionally, we will view paintings, drawings and photographs. The texts will be read and discussed in terms of form, structure, theme, technique, style, characterisation (where relevant) and their appeal or success as literary texts. In our analysis of the texts, we will consider the contexts in which they were created, such as the biographical, geographical, historical psychological and literary contexts.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The course begins by looking at the roots of Modernism through exploring the impact of French Symbolism. Week Two will cover early science fiction followed by various writings of Franz Kafka in Week Three, and an introduction to the art and writings of Futurism in Week Four. The city of Dublin will be our focus in Week Five, after which we will read a selection of Spanish poems in translation in Week Six. Acmeism and St. Petersburg will be the topic of Week Seven and then in Week Eight we will consider the impact of the female sentence, before moving on to American Surrealism in Week Nine. We will end our journey through Modernism with American poetry in Week Ten. Photography, art videos and secondary texts will be included in some sessions.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• analyse poetry and prose to better understand a writer’s language choices;
• Discuss a text with reference to a variety of different contexts: historical, literary, biographical and psychological;
• Evaluate the significance of form and style;
• Use key terminology within your discussions of literary texts.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No previous knowledge of literature is necessary. However, learners will ideally need the following skills and attributes:

• an enthusiasm for reading and discussing a range of texts within large and small groups;
• a willingness and ability to read the poems and prose extracts outside the class; and
• an interest in, and ability to listen to, the responses of other students about the work discussed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

A variety of teaching methods will be used, including short lecture with PowerPoint presentation, small group work using secondary text extracts, whole class discussion.

Work outside class is to read the relevant poems in preparation for the upcoming week.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Literature: A course booklet will be provided which will contain all the poems and prose extracts as well as secondary text extracts which will be used for small-group discussions.

Any additional materials will be provided by the tutor.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This tutor will also be teaching HLT208 Romantic Poets of the South West in term two and HLT280 Six Poets: the 20th century female experience in term three. Look for other these and other Literature courses under History, Culture & Writing/Literature at

Woody River

Woody River has fifteen years of experience teaching literature, language, creative writing and academic writing. She has worked within secondary, further, higher and community education. With a First Class BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing, as well as an MA in Creative Writing, Woody has a vast knowledge of British and international literature across different genres and forms and is particularly interested in European and Japanese literature.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.