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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.

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.

Students taking this course for Kolbe Core (K) credit will have four papers, a mid-term, and final exam each semester.  Additionally, core students should expect to have daily reading and minor weekly written assignments or quizzes.

Assignment due-dates and grades are established by the parent.  Optionally, a student may be enrolled in the Self-Paced Plus© grading assistance program to receive grading assistance from a Kolbe Academy faculty or staff member on designated assignments in the course. In this case, parents will still submit final grades to Kolbe for the course, but may choose to incorporate the graded assignments into the student’s overall grade or use the Kolbe-graded assignments to assist in arriving at the student’s final grade.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
  • The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • The Waste Land, Prufrock and other Poems, T.S. Eliot

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Optional physical copies available for purchase for the following under the Literature 12 “Optional Material” section in the Kolbe Bookstore (digital copies are provided with the self-paced course):

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • A Tale of Two Cities Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Crime and Punishment Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Brideshead Revisited Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • The Man Who Was Thursday Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • 1984 Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • The Waste Land Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing

Note that this is the digital version of the homeschool course plan, which is found in the course’s associated Parent Group.  This course plan is built into the Schoology course for the student. 


Course Details:

Section Number


Grades (Typical)

9 – 12 (12th)


Mrs. Crawford

Lecture Format




Subscription Length

1 year

Extension may be granted for an additional fee.

Self-Paced Plus


Credits (Type)

 10 (Literature)

Transcript Designation


Self-Paced Companion Courses

Morality & Church History III
US & Modern History
Creative Writing

Online Companion Courses

Morality & Church History III
US & Modern History
Creative Writing


Also offered at the Kolbe Honors
(H) level for an additional $69.