Summer 2023 - WL 104W D100

Modern World Literatures (3)

Class Number: 4319

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Thu, 2:30–4:20 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.


MODERNITY’S MIRROR:   Self, Society, and the Crisis of the Modern

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 Eastern European film, The Cranes are Flying, alongside cinematic excerpts from our course plays.


  • Short Essay 15%
  • Short Essay (Revision) 15%
  • Term Paper 20%
  • Term Paper (Revision) 15%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Participation 15%




Shakespeare                  Hamlet                                                             ONLINE — provided

August Strindberg         Miss Julie & Other Plays                                   Oxford 978-0199538041

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

Eileen Chang                Love in a Fallen City                                         NYRB 978-1590171783

Mulk Raj Anand           Untouchable                                                     Penguin Classic 978-0141393605

FILM:                           The Cranes are Flying / Летят журавли        (1957 film – provided)   


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