English R1B

Reading and Composition: Madwomen in the Attic: Literature and Female Insanity

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2006 Arcadia Falcone
MWF 10-11 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wall-Paper

Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

Sigmund Freud, Dora: Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

Diana Hacker, A Writer�s Reference (5 th ed.)

Course reader containing additional primary and secondary sources"


"How have mad women been represented in literature? This course will explore a variety of overlapping approaches (including Gothic, medical, psychoanalytic, and autobiographical) appearing in literary representations of female insanity. Through several texts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we will examine the changing ways in which madness and its treatments intersect with cultural notions about the female mind and the female body. We will pay particular attention to portrayals of the act of writing and of female authorship in these texts, and their relationship to an often male-identified medical and psychological discourse. The representation of female madness and mad females in these texts will also provide a critical perspective from which to question the ideas of female health, sanity, and normality against which insanity is defined.

This course is aimed at developing reading, writing, and research skills that are applicable beyond the specific field of literature. The primary focus will be on how to find, evaluate, and make effective use of research tools and resources. Writing assignments will include three progressively longer papers (2-3 pages, 5-6 pages, 10-12 pages), combining analysis of primary texts with research from secondary sources. Strategies for revision will form another major focus of the course, and the second and third papers will include substantial work (and feedback) at the prewriting and draft stages of composition. This course fulfills the second half of the university�s Reading and Composition requirement."

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