Literature 12

Modern Era Literature

This is a challenging course intended to be taken in conjunction with the 12th grade Modern and US History course. The course is largely based on reflective reading and writing essays based on text analysis. The novels have been chosen for their timelessness and their accurate, stunning portrayal of important historical events and the ideas that have helped shape the Modern world.

Course Description

This course in Modern Literature will show how modern times have reaffirmed man's capacity for terror. Dickens presents "Madame Guillotine" as the patroness of a new nation. In Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov, a brilliant young man, caters to a philosophy that is utterly evil and self-destructive. Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited chronicles the struggle of the individual seeking goodness and truth in a world that is increasingly indifferent to man's spiritual needs. Robert Louis Stevenson shows how the degenerative possibilities of scientific discoveries can affect the nature of man and subconsciously devolve him into a Mr. Hyde. In 1984, the path of atheistic politics strikes the beauty and integrity of man, and dwarf him from a creature made to love and serve God to a cog in the machine of a finite and pathetic state deity. Although modernity, in the words of T.S. Eliot, is a Waste Land "where the sun beats and the dead tree gives no shelter," the Church is the refuge for Heaven-directed pilgrims, and it is a large rock in the desert inviting all to "come under the shadow of this red rock."

Students will become familiar with some of the major authors and most influential novels from the Modern Era; identify the historical events that took place during the life of the Modern writers and how these events have impacted their writing; have a greater understanding of the evolution of literary style and technique in the Modern Era; learn to interpret and analyze an author's means of conveying ideas; and appreciate the impact of philosophy upon literature, and the subsequent impact of literature upon culture.

Course Expectations

Students taking this course for Kolbe Core (OK) credit will have four major assignments each semester.  Two of those four assignments will be paper topic essays, and the other 2 may also be essays, but could instead include other types of creative projects, oral presentations, or other appropriate assignments pertinent to the course.  Additionally, core students should also expect to have daily reading, minor weekly written assignments, required participation, and exams as assigned by their instructor. All assignments are given and graded by the instructor.

Course Texts
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Man Who was Thursday
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • 1984
  • The Waste Land, Prufrock and other Poems
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers


Course Details:

Section Number



Mrs. Crawford

Grades (Typical)

9 - 12 (12th)

Live Class Meets

1x per week

1 hr. 20 min.



Class Period



10:30 - 11:50 AM PT

1:30 - 2:50 PM ET



Credits (Type)

10 (Literature)

Transcript Designation


Companion Courses

Morality & Church History III

US & Modern History

Creative Writing


Also offered at the Kolbe Honors (OH) level.