This course will offer a guided introduction to major movements and figures in twentieth century literature set in the context of the past century's serial revolutions in art, science, philosophy, religion, economics, and politics. Our focus will be on landmark works of prose fiction, primarily from England and America. Over five and a half weeks of dedicated reading, we will cover the iconic historical upheavals of the twentieth century— industrial modernity, mass media, consumerism, world wars, the Cold War, migration, the civil rights movement, decolonization, and globalization. Our approach to these events will be that of a specifically literary history. We will begin by reading some of the most iconic and influential works of literature from the early twentieth century, by authors like James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Franz Kafka. Next, we will read three short novels from the second half of the twentieth century, encountering alienated French intellectuals in north Africa, melancholic immigrants in England, and the ghosts of murdered slaves. We will conclude by reflecting on the crossroads in which contemporary literature finds itself, torn between the prestige of ‘literary fiction’ and the popularity of genres like noir and science fiction. Students of all levels and backgrounds are welcome. No prior experience with university-level arts or literature courses is required for this course. By the end of the course, students will have acquired a clear sense of the broad contours of twentieth century literary history and of key terms in literary studies (realism, modernism, postmodernism, postcolonialism etc.).