English 171

Literature and Sexual Identity: Gender, Sexuality, and Modernism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2014 Abel, Elizabeth
TTh 3:30-5 9 Evans

Book List

Barnes, Djuna: Nightwood ; Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; Cunningham, Michael: The Hours; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction; Larsen, Nella: Quicksand and Passing; Toibin, Colm: The Master; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway; Woolf, Virginia: Orlando

Other Readings and Media

An electronic reader of poetry, short fiction, and critical essays will be available on b-space, and a selection of key critical works will be on reserve at Moffitt. During the semester, we will also screen several films, including Brokeback Mountain, Boys Don't Cry, and Looking for Langston.


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 turn of the twenty-first century, a different phase of the sexual revolution produced a spectrum of intensive cultural production, political action, and theoretical debate about the construction of gender and sexuality. In this course, we will read back and forth across the twentieth century to stage a series of encounters between the cultural practices of modernism and those of contemporary queer theorists and communities.

This course is cross-listed with L.G.B.T. 100 section 1.

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