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

Fall 2009

E 314L • Reading Women Writers

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

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

It seems a commonplace assumption that only women read female authors. This is of course emphatically untrue, and yet it remains the expectation. In order to examine this assumption, in this class we will be reading works in which women intervene into the literary conversations of their day in the name of gender and sexuality. One way that women authors join this conversation is by writing novels about women who read. By choosing this subject, these female authors are in effect imagining their own audience of female readers. During the course of our reading we will seek to answer the following questions, among others: How do we view the female reader? Can there be a female canon? What is the value of the separation of the sexes in the pursuit of canon making? Finally, what perspectives may be elided by the taut categories of male and female?

This class will also give students an opportunity to work on skills that they will continue to need as English majors and critical thinkers. Such skills include doing research, performing close readings, using library databases, writing clearly and gracefully, and constructing nuanced and compelling readings and arguments.

Grading Policy

Long essays: 60%, Short papers: 25%, Informal writing assignments: 15%


Lady Mary Wortley Montagu—Letters; Jane Austen—Northanger Abbey; Dorothy Wordsworth—Grasmere Journals; Charlotte Bronte—Villette; Virginia Woolf—The Voyage Out; Zadie Smith—White Teeth; Assorted critical essays


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