This programme provides the opportunity for advanced study of literary modernism and the avant-garde, and postmodern and contemporary developments in culture and theory. It aims to investigate the key texts and concepts which shape our understanding of literature and culture across a period of radical change and pursues this goal in two ways: through an examination of the aesthetic and cultural assumptions of different modern movements; and through an examination of issues in modern writing, particularly those relating to modernity (such as mass culture, revolution, war and empire) and post-modernity (such as simulation, spectacle, performativity and trauma). Throughout, texts studied are related to developments in other cultural practices, such as film, theatre and the visual arts.
Primary reading for the course ranges across seminal and neglected texts from the modernist, postmodernist, late twentieth-century periods and the present day. As well as literary texts, these will include theoretical formulations of early twentieth-century modernity and its continuities. Secondary reading serves as an introduction to a variety of critical approaches drawing on theories of culture, the avant-garde, memory, history, performance, gender, sexuality, technology, and fields such as postcolonialism, Critical Theory and cultural studies.