Fall 2017 - WL 104W D100

Modern World Literatures (3)

Class Number: 5078

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 5007, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2017
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 5016, Burnaby



Introduces ways of comparing modern world literatures across time and space. May explore topics such as revolution, technology, or existentialism. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


 During the global upheavals of the early 20th century, the terms by which we understood human identity were upended along with traditional notions of human consciousness.  Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that so many modern literary works focus upon the lone individual struggling against his or her social place.  This course explores how literary works interrogated concepts of self & society during that era of turbulent historical, technological, & cultural change.   

We begin to question the individual self through the “theatrical” dream life of an outsider, Hamlet.  By following his story through film & literature, we can better see how solitude becomes a force for change in modernity.  Pursued by the spectre of Hamlet’s self-interrogating presence on stage, we turn to August Strindberg’s play on the fault lines of class, feminism, & the lone individual (Miss Julie 1888), Lao She’s parable of an innocent young man in a corrupt Chinese society (Rickshaw Boy 1937), Jean Rhys’s exploration of a Caribbean woman’s social resistance in London (Voyage in the Dark 1934), and Mulk Raj Anand’s portrait of an outcaste youth in pre-independence India (Untouchable 1935) We will also watch screen versions of several of these texts in order to explore how the image of the individual carries ethical weight in postmodern culture.  

This is an SFU writing course: skills learned throughout the term will help students with written work in all faculties.  


Introductory understanding of World Literature as a field practice

Basic comprehension of terms and concepts of literary criticism

Introductory comprehension of modernism as a cultural and artistic period

Starting ability to analyze aesthetic forms in and across different cultural eras & media

Improved university writing ability with a focus on literary criticism


  • Short Essay + Revision 10% + 10%
  • Term Paper + Revision 20% + 10%
  • Participation 15%
  • Short Presentation 10%
  • Midterm Exam 20%



Shakespeare, Hamlet,Oxford 978-0199535811

August Strindberg, Miss Julie & Other Plays, Oxford 978-0199538041

Lao She, Rickshaw Boy, Harper 978-0061436925

Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark, Penguin Classics 978-0141183954

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, Penguin Classic 978-0141393605

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html