University of Toronto

Graduate Department of English

ENG5605Y: Modernism, Geopolitics, Globalization

Instructor: Melba Cuddy-Keane

Office: Rm. 2103, 7 King's College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3K1

Tel.: 416-978-3191 (St. George Campus); 416-265-4660 (home)


Course Description (2003-04):

From the current perspective of the early twenty-first century, the long-recognized "international theme" in modernist literature is acquiring new meaning as the generative site of the global imagination. This course will investigate the geographical cultural consciousness in the modernist novel (and in a selection of poems, essays, and shorter fiction) as a significant node between the late nineteenth-century focus on nation and empire and the late twentieth-century engagement with transculturalism and globalization. At issue will be the extent to which a geopolitical discourse of empire and bounded territories intersects with and is countered by a fluid, kinetic, and pluralistic discourse of global flows. What multiple ways of imagining cultural others are in circulation and in dialogue with each other during this time? Do space and movement become differently configured as a result of a global consciousness of location? What is the connection between multipersonal focalization and global understanding? Is the reader's awareness of location and self-positioning heightened by reading modernist texts? In posing such questions, the course seeks to investigate the relation between modernist aesthetics and modes of global understanding.

The literary materials will be drawn from a wide range of writers (a representative list includes Mulk Raj Anand, Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa), Joyce Cary, Willa Cather, Chiang Yee, Joseph Conrad, G. Lowes Dickinson, W. E. B. Du Bois, T. S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Ernest Hemingway, W. D. Howells, Christopher Isherwood, Henry James, Nella Larsen, Margaret Laurence, D. H. Lawrence, Lin Yutang, Yoshio Markino, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Richardson, Jean Rhys, Christina Stead, Gertrude Stein, Sui Sin Far, Rabindranath Tagore, Rebecca West, Leonard Woolf, and Virginia Woolf).

You can learn more about this instructor's approach by reading her on-line article entitled "Imaging/Imagining Globalization: Maps and Models" at:

Or by reading her recent article in the September 2003 issue of Modernism/Modernity (requires my.access if off-campus):


And you can find information about interdisciplinary events, at the U of T, on the topic of cultural globalization here:

Globalism and Cross-talk; An Interdisciplinary Project at the University of Toronto



The following books have been ordered at the Bob Miller Bookroom (180 Bloor Street West, between Bedford and Avenue Rd.). If at all possible, please use the specified editions.

First Term:
Henry James, The American. Signet Classic--(whichever edition of this novel you use, please be sure that the text is that of the first authorized English edition published by Macmillan in 1879, not the revised New York edition of 1907)
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes. Penguin
E. M. Forster, A Passage to India. Penguin
T. S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. Faber

Second Term:
Sui Sin Far, Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings. Univ. of Illinois Press
Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing. Rutgers
Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop. Vintage
Christopher Isherwood, Berlin Novels. Minerva
Virginia Woolf, The Years. Penguin

Note: the following book has been removed from the list because it is out of print. A substitution will be made.
W. E. B. Du Bois, Dark Princess: A Romance. U of Mississippi P

A course reader will be available for purchase from the instructor. Estimated price: $25.00. The reader will consist of unbound photocopies, which will be three-hole punched (to facilitate further additions and to enable easy disassembling after the course). Students are strongly urged to obtain a three-ring binder to hold these materials.