If you've ever longed to read the great Modernist novels of the early 20th century - perhaps James Joyce's Ulysses , Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse , or William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! - but have shied away or set them down because of their intimidating style, fragmented narrative, or lack of a clear plot, you no longer need to wait, or be reluctant to return. In this series of 24 lectures, an acclaimed literary scholar and award-winning teacher has created an accessible gateway to this remarkable literary movement. Professor Thorburn will show you not only how an entire generation of Modernist authors - including Joyce, Faulkner, Conrad, Woolf, and Kafka - turned the tradition of literature on its head, creating new techniques to reflect an increasingly complex post-Victorian world, but how to understand and enjoy them. You'll see that even though their works are indeed some of the most challenging you'll ever encounter, they are also among the most rewarding. Choosing short but representative novels and stories, Professor Thorburn offers a compelling overview of Modernism you'll find intriguing - even if you don't have time to read the works along with him. Each work is introduced with a full plot summary to ensure that readers from all backgrounds will easily understand the lectures. Guided by the tenet, "trust ourselves and trust the texts," Professor Thorburn demystifies the world of literary criticism and demonstrates how a thoughtful, careful reader can find exciting and enriching insights in these works. You'll examine these great novels and stories from all angles, through close readings of selected passages and illuminating discussions of structure, form, symbolism, and character.