Modern European Fiction

Module code: EN3159

Module co-ordinator: Dr Mark Rawlinson

In this module, you will read 20th century European fiction from France, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union, including works by Franz Kafka, Mikhail Bulgakov, Thomas Mann, Andre Gide, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Italo Calvino and Primo Levi. Although a number of the texts listed below are quite short, none are quick reads: all are aesthetically and intellectually challenging.

We will explore how the novel as a genre developed beyond 19th century realism, and consider how fiction reflected historical change and crisis - such as modernity, war and the dissolution of empire - as well as how novels can be vehicles for feelings (longing, boredom) and ideas (aestheticism, existentialism). However, we will not only be addressing texts as historical artifacts: we will also seek to discover their relevance to our own preoccupations.

Topics covered

  • Franz Kafka: The Trial
  • Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • Joseph Roth: The Radetsky March
  • Thomas Mann: Death in Venice
  • Andre Gide: The Counterfeiters
  • Jean Paul Sartre: Nausea
  • Albert Camus: The Outsider
  • Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities
  • Primo Levi: The Periodic Table




  • Essay, 5,000 words (100%)