English 203

Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2006 Abel, Elizabeth
Abel, Elizabeth
Wed. 3-6 122 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Barnes, D.: Nightwood; Butler, Judith: Gender Trouble; Faulkner, William: The Sound and the Fury; Ford, Madox Ford: The Good Soldier; Foucault, Michel: The History of Sexuality; James, Henry: Short Novels; Kristeva, Julia: The Powers of Horror; Larsen, Nella: Passing and Quicksand; Sedgwick, Eve: Epistemology of the Closet; Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolf, V.: A Room of One's Own, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, The Waves


"Gender norms and literary forms both exploded at the turn of the twentieth century. These paired crises in social and literary narratives were perceived on the one hand as the stuttering end of western culture's story, the drying up of libidinal fuel; and on the other as the freeing of desire from the burden of reproduction, and of language from the burden of reference. Sexual and literary experimentation went hand in hand, but their intersections varied considerably. At the end of the twentieth century, a different phase of the sexual revolution produced a set of theoretical debates about the construction of gender and sexuality. In this course, we will read back and forth across the century to stage a series of encounters between the narratives and practices of literature and theory. Some of the topics we will address are: gender and literary production; modernist aesthetics and gender performance; hysteria as sexual disorder and as literary style; racial and sexual abjection; narrative structure and the archaeology of femininity; transvestitism and literary authority; sexual and textual closets; and queer aestheticism.

Since the readings include both British and American texts, students will be able to satisfy requirements in either field (as determined by the choice of paper topics). "

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