Course Syllabus


If you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19: please notify the UW Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 Response Team at, or call 206.616.3344. Then please contact me by email so we can get a plan in place.

If owing to quarantine you have to miss meeting classes in person,

1. Please contact a class member to get notes for the classes.

2. You will need to do a viva voce for the missed material, in order to demonstrate your engagement with the material; this will count toward the "Discussion" element of the course grade. See "How to do a Viva Voce" in "Files."

Texts. Hard Copy Required.


    1. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) Norton Critical Edition, ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie ISBN: 0393927542. A cheaper hard copy one is fine as long as it has the preface by Wilde, the last line of which is "All art is quite useless."
    2. Zadie Smith, Swing Time. ISBN-10: ‏ : 0143111647Either hardback or PB is fine.
    3. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Ed. Hussey. Mariner Books; 1990. Get this copy, or email me a photo of the cover and copyright info of the version you already have to see if it will work as a replacement.
    4. Course Reader. Contains all the short stories below. Will be at Rams Copy Center on The Ave by the end of second week. [Ask JB for the new address on the Ave; they had a fire and moved.]


The class will be reading material containing explicit sexual language; explicit references to violence and self-harm; the use of racially demeaning terms; and misogynist language. Alongside a commitment to anti-racist pedagogy, I adopt Dr. Koritha Mitchell’s pedagogical practice: “The N-word is not uttered in my classes, even if it appears in the reading. We simply say N or N’s when reading passages aloud.” (Links to an external site.)

Engl 213A Syllabus

Modernism after Postmodernism      Autumn 2021        T/Th 11:30-1:20. Denny 259

Professor Burstein Office hours: Fridays 8-10 am on Zoom, and by appt.; link TBA.

Face coverings are required indoors at UW. In keeping with the official “University of Washington Face Covering Policy” (22 Sept 2021), fully vaccinated faculty may remove face coverings while lecturing, in the service of audibility. As required by this policy I will at these times maintain 6’ distance from others; please assist me in so doing.



NB: The page counts offered following the titles of short stories are given for the purpose of time management. The sizes and arrangements of the pages, and thus number of words per page, differ, and accordingly so will the time you need.


Week One

Thursday 30 Sept Introduction.


Week Two  Last full week Impressionism exhibit is at SAM.

Tuesday 5 October, Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Yes, the whole thing.

9 am: RP #1 due on Wilde, due on Canvas.


Thursday 7 October: Wilde, con’t. Close reading. In-class instructions for RP #2.


Week Three Wilde, con’t.              SAM show closes 17th

Tuesday 12 Oct Wilde, con’t.


Thursday 14 Oct; Impressions, Impressionism(ism).

Saturday, midnight.  RP #2 due.


Week Four Modernism/PoMo

Tuesday 19 Oct:

  1. Saki, “The Open Window” (1914) (2 pp)



Thursday 21 Oct:

Mansfield, Bliss* (1918) (14 pp)



Week Five: Ghost, Wolf, Woolf

Tuesday 26 Oct

Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants” (1927) (4 pp) *

John Barth, “Lost in the Funhouse”* (1968) (25 pp)

Hemingway, “The Sea Change” (1931) (4 pp)*


Thursday 28 Oct [Halloween class:]



Week Six Woolf

Tuesday 2 Nov

  1. [oral/Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm,] “Little Red Cap” (1812)
  2. [oral/Charles Perrault,] “Little Red Riding Hood” (1697)
  3. Carter, "The Company of Wolves"* (1984) (11 pp.)
  4. Bettelheim, “Little Red Riding Hood,” from The Uses of Enchantment* (1976) (19 pp.) This is non-fiction, but don’t swallow it whole.
  5. Broumas, "Little Red Riding Hood" (1977)
  6. Anne Sexton, “Red Riding Hood”* (1971) (5 pp)
  7. Carol Ann Duffy (former UK poet laureate) “Little Red Cap”* (1999) (2 pp.)
  8. Woolf, “A Haunted House” (1921) (2 pp)*
  9. Machado, “Real Women Have Bodies”* (2017) (25 pp)

Thursday 4 Nov, Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925), via in-class close reading of opening passage.

Rec but not required: Ali Smith, “On Time” (2012) from Artful


Week Seven

Monday 8 November:  9 am Paper #1 due, on Canvas. 

Tuesday 9 Nov Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Thursday 11 Nov. No class; federal holiday.


Week Eight

Monday 15 November 9 am: RP #3 due, on Mrs. Dalloway.

Tuesday 16 Nov Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway.

16. Woolf, “The New Dress”* (1927) (8 pp)

Thursday 18 Nov: Dalloway, con't.


Homework:  The Chiang is long and mindbending unless you understand linguistics (which I don't, I hasten to add) so read ahead. Smith's novel is long and time-bending; don't leave it to a single weekend.

Week Nine:

Tuesday 23 Nov: 

17. Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life”* (1998) (29 pp)

  1. Moore, “People Like That Are The Only People Here”* (1998) (16 pp)

Homework: Finish Swing Time; your RP4 on it is now due next Monday Tuesday at 9 am. It is gripping, but it is also the longest novel you're reading in this class.

Thursday 25 Nov No class. Look up videos on the Nicholas Brothers if you are scrounging for reasons to give thanks. There are tons of references to films in Swing Time, and LeGon is real too. Ekphrasis ahoy. (See caveat re. RP 4 below, though.)

Week Ten Swing Time. You will need to have finished the novel before writing the RP, so swing your time accordingly.

Tuesday 30 Nov  Zadie Smith, Swing Time--yes, the whole thing. 9 am RP#4 due on Swing Time. It has to be on the novel, not on the novel's relations to any cool paratextual references you've tracked down or have been provided by your eerily well informed professor.

Thursday 2 Dec Z. Smith, Swing Time con't. The bildungsroman, and the roman a clé.


Week Eleven

Tuesday 7 Dec: Smith


Thursday 9 Dec. Art and Life: Ekphrasis encore.  Paper #2: hard copy due at the beginning of class.

  1. Namwali Serpell, "The Work of Art"* (2020) (20 pp)
  2. Ali Smith, “Green”* (2010) (7 pp)

Final Exam: Identification, short answer, matching. As per UW time catalogue: Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. 4:30-6:20 p.m. (PDT)



Response Papers (RP’s): Due on Canvas, 9 am on the days indicated: .doc or .docx formats only. See “How to Write a Response Paper” in Canvas Files for grade scale.

Paper #1: 3-5 double-spaced pgs (1500-1800 words). On one text.

Paper #2 5-7 double-spaced pages. Will be on more than one text, and must include a novel. Due in hard copy, at the beginning of class.

Further paper instructions to come.



Paper 1: 20%.

Paper 2: 30%.

RP’s:     20%.

Discussion: 15%

Final Exam: 15%


The class may be reading literature containing explicit sexual language; explicit references to violence; the use of racially demeaning terms; and misogynist language. Alongside a commitment to anti-racist pedagogy, I adopt Dr. Koritha Mitchell’s pedagogical practice: “The N-word is not uttered in my classes, even if it appears in the reading. We simply say N or N’s when reading passages aloud.” (Links to an external site.)




  1. Always write me from your email account. I do not open emails sent from personal accounts. Call UW IT if you are confused about the mechanics of forwarding email to different accounts. (You can also use Canvas, but regular email keeps the thread of the conversation more readily.)


  1. All written assignments are to follow standard paper formatting. This may mean you have to change the default spacing in Word from spacing to “no spaces” between paragraphs. Papers receive an automatic penalty if this is not adjusted. Spaces are used between sections of papers, or novels, or items in lists. They do not separate paragraphs unless you code for Word and think in bumper stickers.


  1. Do not plagiarize. Plagiarism includes the lifting of material from the internet, collusion, and the use of sources without full citation. Papers and presentations are to be the result of your own labor, and all sources must be documented. If you have any questions regarding what constitutes plagiarism, consult me. Plagiarism encompasses unintentional as well as intentional behavior.


  1. If I get your name or preferred pronoun wrong, please let me know.


  1. I do not hold office hours via email.


  1. This syllabus is subject to change. I will announce changes during our in-person classes, and/or notify the class through announcements and/or email. You are responsible for keeping up with these modifications to our schedule and/or assignments: check your email account once a day for the remainder of the term.


  1. Things are especially crazy nowadays, and something is going to go sideways at least once and possibly 200 times. Keep calm, stay in contact with me, and carry on.



You will be held to the UW’s stipulations regarding health and conduct.

If you require accommodation owing to a disability, contact the Disabilities Resources for Students Office (DRS) in Schmitz Hall 448 (206-548-8924; or the Disabilities Services Office (DSO) at It is your responsibility to follow all rules outlined by the DRS/DSO: Should forms be involved, you must ensure delivery to me with time enough to allow for us to arrive at a mutual understanding of the means by which those accommodations are best met.

 “Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form ( (Links to an external site.).”

 The Department of English at the University of Washington acknowledges that our university is located on the shared lands and waters of the Coast Salish peoples. We aspire to be a place where human rights are respected and where any of us can seek support. This includes people of all ethnicities, faiths, gender identities, national and indigenous origins, political views, and citizenship status; nontheists; LGBQTIA+; those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.



Course Summary:

Date Details Due