E 314L • Reading Women Writers-W
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
Students in this course will develop the critical reading, analytical, and writing skills central to the English major. This course will focus on "women writers" and their texts, looking especially at US writers from the late eighteenth century to the present.
Virginia Woolf famously said that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction," and many of the writers we will encounter in this course will indeed be clearing space for themselves in what was once a primarily male-authored canon. But what does it mean to categorize and label a text by the gender of its author? What are the implications of a field that writes itself into existence on the basis of womanhood, and how does this field construct and understand the concept of woman in the first place? These are some of the questions we'll consider in addition to reading our texts and authors across issues of nationality, culture, and race or ethnicity. In the process, we'll examine various approaches to the study of literature and consider the importance of genre, attention to the text as a circulating artifact, and several critical schools of thought.
In-class writing prompts and quizzes 10% Informal writing assignments 15% Paper 1 (close reading, 4 pages) 15% Paper 2 (short research, 6-8 pages) 25% Short in-class presentation on paper 2 5% Attendance & participation 5% Final exam (primarily essay) 25%
Readings for this course will likely include selections by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Toni Morrison, Edith Wharton, Anne Bradstreet, Sarah Piatt, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Anzaldua, and Leslie Marmon Silko. Shorter selections and several critical essays will be provided in a reading packet.