Faculty of Arts


Modernist Spaces

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for ENGLISH 206.


Modernist literature was born in modern cities. Modernist thinkers are defined in part by their fascination with the rise of urban mass society and the phenomena attendent upon it: new possibities for consumerist self-definitions, racial mixing, sexual exploration and delicious anonymity. With this in mind, ENGLISH 206 queries the idea of space, particularly city space, in modernist culture and literary production. In response to the works we read and view, and inspired by visits to important Modernist sites in Auckland, we will approach questions like:

  • How is the metropolis negotiated in fiction, art and film?
  • In what ways do the city, and the relationship between urban and rural space, influence modernist artistic techniques?  
  • How are the inner spaces of the mind mapped in response to the exteriors of the great cities of modernism such as London, New York, Paris, Dublin?
  • How do Auckland’s early twentieth century architecture and monuments respond to the modern, and modernist, age?

Students taking the course will expand their knowledge of modernism as a multimedia, multicultural phenonemon; of fictional and visual representation; and of ways to read poetry, fiction and film within the context of English literature studies. They will also develop a general or background understanding of twentieth century approaches to space, as viewed by modern sociologists, geographers, architects and artists in New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

Availability 2018

Not taught in 2018




T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)

James Joyce, excerpts from Ulysses (1922)

Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)

Fritz Lang (dir.), Metropolis (1927)

Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)

Hugh Ferriss, The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929)

Henry Roth, Call It Sleep (1934)


Coursework only


ENGLISH 206: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage I in English

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