Fall 2023 - WL 104W D100

Modern World Literatures (3)

Class Number: 6899

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2023
    Mon, 3:30–6:30 p.m.



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


The global upheavals of the early 20th century upended the ways in which human nature was understood. In that larger era of turbulent historical, technological, and cultural transformation, literature and art came to reflect new notions of human value and identity. And yet, as our first text suggests, the “modernist” revolution in human nature was not entirely new – not least where Hamlet suggests how individual consciousness can appear as a force for change in modernity.

Pursued by that prince’s self-interrogating presence, and with reference to the visual arts, we move on to Strindberg’s play on the fault lines of class, feminism, and the individual (Miss Julie 1888), Mu Shiying’s stream-of-consciousness Chinese short stories (1938) and Zhang Ailing’s mid-century Hong Kong fictions (Eileen Chang 1944), as well as Mulk Raj Anand’s novel concerning 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 also watch the famous 1957 European film, The Cranes are Flying, alongside cinematic scenes from our course plays.


  • Participation 10%
  • Short Essay + Revision (20% + 20%) 40%
  • Term Paper + Revision (15% + 15%) 30%
  • Final Exam 20%



Shakespeare, Hamlet (ONLINE - provided)

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

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, Penguin Classic  
ISBN: 978-0141393605

Mikhail Kalatozov. The Cranes are Flying / Летят журавли. 1957.

Mu Shiying Mu Shiying. China’s Lost Modernist. Hong Kong U
ISBN: 978-9888208142

Eileen Chang. Love in a Fallen City. NYRB
ISBN: 978-1590171783


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


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Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.