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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Fall 2007

WGS 340 • NEW POLISH WOMEN LATE 19-C LIT

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49850 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
CAL 21
MANOUELIAN

Course Description

"The New Women: Writing Polish Women's Lives in the Late Nineteenth Century" explores three novels that examine the possibilities and obstacles encountered by Polish women in a period that saw the dawn of feminist consciousness in Poland. In America by Susan Sontag revolves around a paragon of feminist self-consciousness: a brilliant diva whose involvements on stage and in politics are based on the life of an actual historical figure, the Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska. The year is 1876, and this Bernhardt-like figure has decided to abandon theater and establish a utopian commune in Anaheim, California. Sontag's novel won the National Book Award in 2000. The Doll by BolesBaw Prus is arguably the greatest Polish novel of the 19th century: a sweeping panorama of of social conflict, political tensions, and personal suffering. The novel offers a vivid depiction of the rapid development of industrial capitalism in Poland 1880's, and the spectrum of female characters reveals the degree of their commodification, from the open prostitution of Marianna to the aristocratic Bela's fluctuating value as a marriage partner. Yet ultimately even an impoverished Bela refuses to sell herself into bondage, and ultimately defies gender stereotypes by asserting her rights before her assumed patrons. The Forsaken, or, Meir Ezofowicz by Eliza Orzeszkowa (a pioneering Polish feminist, the first woman to make a career as a writer in Polish literature, an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism) is a poetic saga about life in a Jewish shtetl, the struggle between a religiously orthodox culture and the new possibilities opened by the Jewish Enlightenment, the Haskalah. COURSE NUMBER MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT WHEN THE TOPICS VARY. THE NEW WOMEN: WRITING POLISH WOMEN'S LIVES IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY. WGS 340 AND W S 340 MAY NOT BOTH BE COUNTED UNLESS THE TOPICS VARY. PREREQUISITE: FOR ENGLISH MAJS, RHE 306 AND E 316K OR THEIR EQUIVS, AND 3 ADDITIONAL SEM HRS OF LOWER-DIV COURSEWORK IN EITHER ENGLISH OR RHETORIC AND WRITING; FOR OTHERS, UPPER-DIV STANDING OR CONSENT OF INSTRUCTOR. MEETS WITH SLA 356 AND C L 323.

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