Summer 2018 - WL 104W D100

Modern World Literatures (3)

Class Number: 4238

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 5030, Burnaby



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


A description of my image 


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 Strindberg’s play on the fault lines of class, feminism, & the lone individual (Miss Julie 1888), Conrad’s infamous African novella (Heart of Darkness 1899), Lu Xun’s famous short story of modern Chinese consciousness, “The Real Story of Ah-Q” (1921), 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) Given that none of our course texts are very long, we will also watch screen versions of them in order to explore how the image of the individual carries ethical weight in postmodern culture.

nb 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 and the modernist era                                                          
Starting ability to analyze aesthetic forms across different cultural eras & media                                                                                    
Improved university writing ability with focus on cultural criticism


  • Short Essay + Revision 10% + 10%%
  • Term Paper + Revision 20% + 15%%
  • Short Presentation 10%%
  • Participation 10%%
  • Mid Term Exam 25%%




WRITING INTENSIVE: (W designated) There are five W criteria:  

1. Students have opportunities to use writing as a way of learning the content of the course and are taught to write in the forms and for the purposes that are typical of disciplines and/or professions.  
2. Examples of writing within the disciplines are used as a means of instruction about typical structures, modes of reasoning, styles of address, and the use of technical language and of evidence.  
3. Students receive appropriate feedback and response to their writing that is based on explicit criteria and is directed at improving the quality of their writing.
4. Revision is built into the process of writing for formal assignments, usually in terms of revisions of the same paper, or alternatively, in revisions accomplished through successive similar assignments.
5. At least half the course grade is based on written work for which students receive feedback (see #3)



Shakespeare, Hamlet (Oxford 978-0199535811)

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

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Modern Library 978-0375753770)

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (Penguin Classic 978-0141393605)

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

Lu Xun, “The Real Story of Ah-Q” (online)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.