Spring 2020 - WL 104W D100

Modern World Literatures (3)

Class Number: 8903

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    BLU 10031, Burnaby



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


                     “The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, gigantic and rational derangement of all the senses”
  A. Rimbaud

During the global upheavals of the early 20th century, the way in which human identity was understood and depicted was upended along with traditional notions of human consciousness.  Looking back at this era of turbulent historical, technological, & cultural change, this interdisciplinary course explores how literature and art helped to develop new concepts of self & society.  

In order to understand what had changed, we begin with three episodes from the “theatrical” dream life of that tormented outsider, Hamlet (provided). By following his story through film & literature, we learn to see how solitude and derangement become forces for change in modernity. Pursued by Hamlet’s self-interrogating presence, we turn to Strindberg’s play on the fault lines of class, feminism, and the individual (Miss Julie 1888), Rhys’s stream-of-consciousness novella of a young West Indian woman in London (Voyage in the Dark 1934), and Mulk Raj Anand’s portrait of an outcaste youth in pre-independence India (Untouchable 1935). In order to deepen our comprehension of how the “image” of the individual carries ethical weight, we will also watch a famous 1930s Shanghai movie, The Goddess (神女), and a recent cinematic version of “Miss Julie.” We finish with three brief short stories (provided) that interrogate the burdens of alienation in a changing global order.


  • 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% + 15%
  • Mid Term Test 25%
  • Term paper + Revision 20% + 15%
  • Participation 15%


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



August Strindberg           Miss Julie & Other Plays       Oxford   
ISBN: 978-0199538041

Jean Rhys                      Voyage in the Dark      Penguin Classic 
ISBN: 978-0141183954

Mulk Raj Anand             Untouchable      Penguin Classic
ISBN: 978-0141393605

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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