"On or about December 1, 1910, human nature changed." These words, uttered by Virginia Woolf, echo the author's attempts throughout her writing career to understand and define human nature, and to come to terms with the dramatic changes it had undergone in her lifetime -- the time of the rise of modernism. A quintessential modernist, Woolf was one of the most enigmatic, remarkable, and prolific writers of the twentieth century. We will spend the semester reading a selection of her novels, short stories, essays, letters, and diaries. Our discussions will focus on her ideas about gender, colonialism, modernism, marriage, family, and politics. We will also address recent biographies of Woolf and discoveries about her life that may shed light upon her work. Each student will be required to give one 15-minute oral presentation to the class, and to write two short papers and one longer term paper. No exams.