Comparative Literature | Women in World Lit: The Modern Novel: Men Writing Women
C340 | 25705 | Olga Volkova


MW 1:00-2:15
*class carries A&H and CS credit*

Ever since the modern novel established itself as a fixed literary
form, the mysterious and, as it turns out, incredibly elastic idea of
a woman has been one of its perennial concerns. Who is a woman and
what is she good for? At times, she stands for a collection of
internalized moral norms. She might appear as a saint, as a whore, or
as both at once. She might also serve as a repository for some
“primitive,” undesirable qualities, a literary dumpster of sorts.
Often, she is a tragic victim of the forces of modern culture, belief,
economics, law, and even nature itself. In this course, we will read
some of the most poignant meditations on this subject, encountering
some of the most famous and enduring heroines such as Anna Karenina,
Manon Lescaut, Emma Bovary, Tess Durbeyfield, and Lolita. Evaluation
will be based on a few short assignments and one seminar-length paper.