Spring 2023 - ENGL 341 D100

Modern and Contemporary British Literature (4)


Class Number: 4301

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 9655, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Mary Ann Gillies
    Office: AQ 6145
    Office Hours: Tues and Thurs 1-2; also by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200-division English courses.



Study of 20th- and 21st-century British literature, with particular attention to cultural and historical forces and to the interrelation between literary technique and social reality. May be organized around specific literary figures, literary or social movements, genre, or theme, as well as cultural and geographical context. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught.


Britain in the Thirties

The 1930s were a turbulent time: economic depression, political instability, the rise of fascism, the advent of the New Left, and the Spanish Civil War are all markers of enormous change. British writers responded to the turmoil surrounding them in various ways; however, their work is marked by its energy, its questioning of the status quo, and its formal experiments. In this course we will read 5 texts that showcase the variety of literature produced in Britain in the ’30s. Our object is to discover the ways in which the writers used fiction and non-fiction prose to deal with the political, cultural, and aesthetic challenges they faced.


  • Seminar Presentation 15%
  • Reading Quizzes 5%
  • Term Definitions 20%
  • Essay 1 (5-6 pages) 25%
  • Research Essay (10-12 pages) - includes proposal and annotated bibliography 35%



Orwell, George     Road to Wigan Pier

Holtby, Winnifred     South Riding

Isherwood, Christopher     Berlin Stories

Du Maurier, Daphne     Rebecca

Ambler, Eric     A Coffin for Dimitrios

There will be additional readings on Canvas.

Required reading texts will be available for purchase at the SFU Bookstore; however, you may also obtain them from local and online bookstores.

Texts will be read in the order they are listed above.


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.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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