Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG454H1S L0201

ENG454H1S    L0201   M1-3 
Advanced Seminar Group 5: Britain and the World, 1900-1960
Professor Maxwell Uphaus 
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Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, TBA
Email: TBA

Brief Description of Course: In the wake of the 2016 Brexit vote, Britain’s national identity, its openness to immigration, and its relationship to the rest of the world have become newly pressing questions, both in Britain and across the globe. Many of the issues surrounding Britain’s perception of its place in the wider world that have flared up in the last two years stem from British history and culture between 1900 and 1960. The transformations of this period, which began with Britain reaching the high tide of its global expansion and ended with the first great wave of immigration into Britain from its former or soon-to-be-former colonies, brought Britain to the world and the world to Britain in an unprecedented variety of ways: the outward voyages of British colonial administrators, businesspeople, soldiers, sailors, settlers, and tourists were matched and then exceeded by the voyages in of people from throughout the British Empire, and beyond it, set in motion by the waxing and waning of British imperial power. This course will explore some of the literature produced by the many voyages out of and into Britain during this period. We will study a variety of literary representations of the encounters that resulted from these voyages, juxtaposing accounts of Britons venturing abroad with portrayals of the migrant experience in Britain from a wide range of perspectives and with different depictions of an increasingly multicultural and multi-ethnic Britain. By tracing the ideas about Britishness and Britain’s relationship with the world that emerge from these works, we will seek to better understand the roots of today’s debates surrounding these topics. In addition, by putting canonical British modernists in dialogue with some of their global contemporaries, the course will explore the potential of the on-going turn in modernist studies away from a one-sided picture of modernism expanding outwards from a Euro-American hub and towards a vision of a variety of global modernisms interacting with and affecting one another in the more deeply interconnected world of the early twentieth century. To this end, we will supplement our primary readings with selections of recent theoretical and critical scholarship from the new modernist studies.

Required Reading: Tentative list, subject to change: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness and “Amy Foster”; E. M. Forster, A Passage to India; Mulk Raj Anand, Across the Black Waters; Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out; Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; John Osborne, The Entertainer; Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners; short fiction by Rudyard Kipling and Katherine Mansfield; poetry by Una Marson.

First Three Authors/Texts: Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Conrad, “Amy Foster”; Forster, A Passage to India (subject to change).

Method of Evaluation: Two short essays (15% each), final paper (30%), presentation (10%), participation (30%).

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