L207 1941 GUBAR
Women and Literature

9:05a-9:55a MWF (70) 3 cr.

This course surveys literary women’s achievements in English over three centuries. Starting with the eighteenth-century verse of Anne Bradstreet and Anne Finch and ending with the contemporary fiction of Angela Carter and Toni Morrison, we will consider the coherence of a female literary tradition unified by certain crucial concerns. Why and how do women writers approach the anxiety authorship instills, the engendering of private and public domains, the perplexities of growing up female, the feminization of poverty, the battle between the sexes, the meanings of heterosexuality and homosexuality, of being single or being mated, of maternity and aging, of women’s friendships and communities? However, we will also explore differences among women that mark distinctive aesthetic conventions. Why and how do female writers present dissonant visions of their sexual orientations, ethnic or racial or religious identifications, and geopolitical allegiances?

We will cover a great deal of writing in many different genres (short stories, novels, poetry, drama, essays) composed in England, America, Canada, and other English-speaking regions around the globe. Students will be asked to complete the required reading before the lecture and to bring their books to class. Classes will consist of lecture as well as discussions and participation will be expected. All of the readings will come from the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women (second edition). There will be two required papers as well as a midterm and a final. Late work cannot be accepted.