ELIZABETH S DEMOTT
E 314L • Reading Women Writers
TTH 930am-1100am SZB 286
Instructor: DeMott, E Areas: -- / A
Unique #: 35027 Flags: Writing
Semester: Fall 2013 Restrictions: n/a
Cross-lists: n/a Computer Instruction: No
Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.
Description: In The Madwoman in the Attic, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar assert that women writers face an “anxiety of authorship”; that is, because women writers are confronted with literary predecessors who are almost exclusively male—and who define authorship as a masculine act of creation—these female poets are faced with the fear that they neither fit within a patriarchal literary tradition nor see themselves reflected in the female characters represented by this tradition. Taking the paradox presented by the “anxiety of authorship” as our starting place—how can a woman develop the subject position necessary to write when faced solely with a male literary models?—this course will examine the ways in which a handful of twentieth and twenty-first century British, Irish, and American women writers have grappled with and overcome the challenges of female authorship. How do we approach a text written by a woman? Is it different than the process by which we approach a male-authored text? How is the paradox of the woman writer reflected in the identities of her characters? And when does the act of female authorship become a feminist undertaking?
We will also investigate the problem of categorizing such a diverse group of texts as female-authored. Do we do a disservice to these artists when we categorize these texts (and this course) by gender? We will probe this question by examining issues of sexuality, politics, race, class, and identity provoked by these texts.
This course helps students prepare for upper-division English classes as well as humanities-focused and writing-intensive courses in other majors. Students will develop close reading skills, critical writing practices, research techniques, and critical analysis through historical, cultural, and formal approaches. This course carries a Writing Flag.
Possible Texts: Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse; Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God;Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman; Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats; Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street; poetry may include selections from Edna St. Vincent Millay, Adrienne Rich, Eavan Boland, Audre Lorde, Natasha Trethewey. These texts will be complemented by a variety of critical and theoretical texts.
Requirements & Grading: 3 Close Reading Assignments, 2-3 pages (30%); Presentation and Presentation Paper, 4-5 pages (25%); Presentation Response Paper, 2-3 pages (10%); Final Paper, 5-7 pages (35%).