This course will focus on close reading of passages from a selection of prose and poetry authored by women. As we read these texts, we will explore a few of the key issues that have concerned women writers. We will examine questions of the difference of the female point of view, the suppression of female subjectivity and autonomy, as well as the renderings of an alternative worldview and culture. Running through the course will be the motif of ‘awakenings’ and we will look at the different ways in which women writers have explored this in relation to madness, sexuality, and subjectivity.
- Some basic knowledge of feminist literary approaches
- Some understanding of how to read literary texts critically
- A critical appreciation of the narratives of female awakenings: Why are such narratives important to women? What new kinds of awakenings are posited by women writers and why these in particular?
- The beginnings of a critical understanding of the effects of patriarchy on women as seen in women's writing
Below is a selection of some of the topics that will be covered in this course.
• Keywords: Feminism, Female, Feminine, Patriarchy, Difference, Subjectivity, Oppression
• Awakenings/The double life
- The Struggle for Autonomy: Women and Madness
- The Struggle for Autonomy: Subjectivity
- The Struggle for Autonomy: Sexuality
- The Struggle for Autonomy: Privacy
- Working with literary criticism
The course aims to provide students with a critical framework for reading literary texts, in particular literary texts by women, through guided readings and group discussions. Students will be introduced to a few feminist concepts to enable them to critically approach a variety of women's writing.
This course will be a combination of lecture and discussion. Everyone is expected to have read the texts for the week and contribute to class discussions.
Assessment for the course is 100% coursework and assessment may be divided into the following components, though please attend the class and see the course syllabus for a precise and final breakdown.
10% Class participation
35% Mid-term test
2.5% First draft of essay
10% 1-page reflection
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 'The Yellow Wallpaper'
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
Selected poems by Adrienne Rich and others
Selected short stories by Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy Richardson and others
Adrienne Rich, 'When We Dead Awaken'