English 100

Junior Seminar: Men, Women and Texts

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2005 Turner, James Grantham
Turner, James
TTh 3:30-5 221 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Woolf, V.: A Room of One's Own; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Seventh Edition, vol. I; Behn, A: Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works; Paper Bodies: A Margaret Cavendish Reader; a course reader


"The Junior Seminar is intended to introduce English majors to ""intensive study of critical and methodological problems in the study of literature."" Ever since Virginia Woolf's classic A Room of One's Own (1929) issues of gender have been central to this study. Feminist criticism has rediscovered women writers and reinterpreted the male authors who used to monopolize the canon. Every new edition of the Norton Anthology, a good measure of what is considered truly ""English Literature,"" contains proportionally more women authors; when I first taught this course, most of the women's texts had to be supplied on a xerox handout, and now most of them are in the Anthology. Theorists now ask different questions about the author: does the sex of the author matter, and if so why? is writing intrinsically gendered, and if so is it male or female? Historians ask, what difference does it make to literature when women begin to publish?

This course is designed to land you in the middle of these important issues, first by discussing Woolf's influential text, and then by studying some of the women authors she herself mentions as pioneers or victims in their own time. We will compare selected, paired works by men and women authors of the Restoration and 18th century: the worldly Aphra Behn and the notoriously obscene Earl of Rochester; the eccentric fantasy of Margaret Cavendish and the devastating satire of Jonathan Swift; amusing, painful and brilliant poetry by Anne Finch, Alexander Pope and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Requirements: class attendance and participation; one short and two longer papers; professionally correct presentation, including all quotations and references. No final examination. "

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