From Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to Jane Campion’s ‘The Piano,’, from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Irvine Welch’s Trainspotting: twentieth century literature is more radical, more risk-taking and more engaged than any literature before it. Plus, it engages with the issues that matter to us now: how does gender work in the age of equality, how are relationships fostered in the era of alienation, how does life work in the vast and anonymous modern metropolis, and who gets to define the identities of others and the right to represent them? Twentieth century writers had to contend with forces earlier writers never even knew of and that we take for granted: the techno-cool of modern technologies from the car to the internet, the modern carnival of consumerism and advertising, the arrival of mass literacy and the modern middle class, the effects of late- and post-imperialism. Modernist writing began among expatriates in the cafes of Paris, and was taken up by movements such as the Imagists, the Bloomsbury group, the Futurists, in the years between the horrors of the Frist and Second World Wars. This was the time of wild experiment and the avant-gardes. After the war, the new prosperity in the west saw the rise of post-modernisms and a new wave of post-sixties experiment, when culture join forces with new movements of liberation and struggle. In this class, we will read poems, novels and plays from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” to recent British fiction by Sadie Smith and Angela Carter, to look at how modernist and post-modern literature rewrote the modern world and the ways we live in it.