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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2009

E s370W • Major Authors: Virginia Woolf (England)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor

Carter, M

Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

Virginia Woolf was the least well traveled of the British modernists. While she never left the European continent, she was a great lover of landscapes--literary landscapes and imaginary ones, and urban and pastoral landscapes, as well. In this course we will read three Woolf novels, including her tentative, first experimental novel, Jacob's Room (1922) and her most daring and visionary one, The Waves (1931). We will also read some of Woolf's essays and short stories. Many of Woolf’s modernist narratives used mobility and fluidity, the wandering patterns of our minds and bodies, to influence their form and style. For example, Jacob’s Room introduces its young protagonist in playful flight on a beach in Cornwall and follows his development from a wild boy to a young, Victorian gentleman at Cambridge University, and later, a struggling young man in the city of London. Woolf’s use of the stream-of-consciousness technique is perfected in Mrs. Dalloway (1924), a novel that traverses London’s urban landscape in the course of one epic day.

The Woolf sites that we will visit may include her country residence at Monk's House, Rodmell, Lewes, in East Sussex, a National Trust site that holds some of Woolf's private diaries and personal photos; Hampton Court Palace in Richmond--a site frequently visited in Woolf’s fiction, for example, Hampton Court plays a special commemorative role for the six friends in The Waves. We will also do a Mrs. Dalloway walk and tour of Kensington and Bloomsbury in London, the city that plays as prominent a role in her fiction as do Woolf’s stylistic experiments and central protagonists.

Grading Policy

One (1-2 page) critical analysis of assigned Woolf essay: 10% of final grade; One (5-7 page) paper on Jacob's Room or The Waves: 30% of final grade; One (4-page) creative writing project (a short story, set of poems, impressionistic journal, etc): Woolf’s London: Walking in the City; Following Mrs. Dalloway: 30% of final grade; Active, substantial and significant participation 30% of final grade.

Active and significant participation comprises a substantial portion of your final grade (30%); therefore neither silence nor lack of preparedness will serve you well in this seminar. Since I cannot tell you what these texts mean, your success depends--to a great extent--on your willingness to engage with the texts and with your fellow classmates. No one has the final, correct, absolute interpretation of these books. I invite you to take risks, to challenge yourself, and to share your understanding of each novel or essay.

Students will be allowed one revision of each paper assignment; if the essay is substantially improved, the final grade for the essay will be the higher, post-revision grade.


Jacob's Room (Cornwall, Cambridge University, London); Mrs. Dalloway (London); The Waves (London; Hampton Court Palace, Richmond); And selected Woolf essays and stories.


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