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

Fall 2004

E 314L • Women’s Popular Genres

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32010 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
PAR 103

Course Description

This course will trace women’s authorship through specific narrative genres and their roots by joining genres of two variants of this course, romance and sentimentality with the gothic. This approach recognizes the complexity of women’s texts and acknowledges the frequent combination of these genres in foundational women’s texts and the rich traditions that followed.

We will explore this body of texts using historical, postcolonial, feminist, and textual methodologies. We will consider the gendering of romance and sentimentality as women’s genres and how these draw on and intervene in the gothic narrative tradition.

Jane Eyre contributes to both genres that influence our readings this semester. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl draws on Jane Eyre’s connections between colonization, print, and women’s spaces, while A Dark Lantern adds to these considerations the medical manipulation of women’s desires. Douglas Sirk’s film Imitation of Life draws on the history of women’s literary treatments of gender, race, and class, and Dawn carries sentimentality and the gothic into the science fiction genre. From Canadian author Shani Mootoo, and set on an unnamed Caribbean island, Cereus Blooms at Night foregrounds questions of post-colonialism, cultural hybridity, and sexuality founded in the concerns of our genres. Finally, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse addresses these questions in what we might call a U.S. epic gothic romance.

Students will learn to read critically and also will become familiar with the language of literary interpretation and discussion.

Grading Policy

Three 2-page papers 30%
6-8-page mid-term paper 20%
Introducing one class discussion and serving as respondent to another 10%
6-8-page final paper and collaborative web project 20%
Class participation 20%


1847, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
1861, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs
1905, A Dark Lantern, Elizabeth Robins
1959, Imitation of Life, Douglas Sirk (film)
1988, Dawn, Octavia Butler
1999, Cereus Blooms at Night, Shani Mootoo
2001, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, Louise Erdrich


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