Faculty of Arts


Literature and the Contemporary


ENGLISH 101 is a wide-ranging study of literatures in English in different forms and media between the beginning of the twentieth century and the present. Themes such as modernity/postmodernity, memory, war, colonialism, gender relations and ecological crisis will be studied in the context of important historical events and cultural movements in the Anglophone world. We also examine and compare key elements of narrative (structure, style, perspective, theme, characterisation, setting and so on in prose; all of the above plus lighting, tracking and so on in film).

After beginning by looking at the kind of realist literature that flourished before World War I, we will move on to modernism’s reaction against realism, and then to postmodernism and contemporary texts.

Course outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will have the opportunity to:

  • Read a range of innovative and enjoyable literary works
  • Familiarise themselves with some of the major trends and movements in twentieth and twenty-first century literature
  • Understand and carry out strategies for close reading and analysis of texts
  • Develop written and oral arguments about literature
  • Acquire additional skills in critical thinking and cooperative group work


Coursework + exam

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Professor Erin Carlston


Prescribed reading is likely to include:

  1. Albert Belz, Awhi Tapu (2006); bookshop
  2. Arnold Bennett, “His Worship the Goosedriver,” from Tales of the Five Towns (1905); coursebook; also available as audiobook
  3. Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985); bookshop
  4. Bill Manhire, “The Brain of Katherine Mansfield” (1988); link on Canvas
  5. Katherine Mansfield, selected short stories; coursebook
  6. Christopher Nolan (dir.), Memento (2000); to be screened for the whole class.
  7. Virginia Woolf, “Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown” (1923); coursebook
  8. Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse (1927); bookshop

Recommended Reading

Additional readings may be recommended during the semester and will be added to the course outline.


Coursework + exam


ENGLISH 101: 15.0 points

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