English R1A

Reading and Composition: My Brilliant Friend: Reading Female Friendship

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Fall 2022 Chaudhuri, Uttara Chintamani
MWF 4-5 DWIN233

Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Chattopadhay, Bankim Chandra: Rajmohan's Wife; Ferrante, Elena: My Brilliant Friend; Woolf, Virginia: A Room of One's Own

Other Readings and Media

Noah Baumbach, Frances Ha (2012 film), Vishal Bhardwaj, Dedh Ishqiya (2014 film), Ambai, Fish in a Dwindling Lake (2012)**(short story to be decided from this collection)


While popular media has commented on the recent emphasis on female friendship in literary fiction, the phenomenon has elided scholarly attention. In this course, we will both interrogate and think beyond the question of appeal: as a particular encounter with otherness and therefore a site of political negotiation, what are the literary and political implications of contemporary female friendship? Before we approach the precarious field of the “present” cultural moment, we will go back in time to examine how, over the long arc of literary history, female friendship appears, glimmers, or lurks beneath various modes of literary fiction. We will consider the implications of female friendship for the politics of gender, but also—given the ceaseless deployment of friendship and enmity in political discourse—for larger questions of political being. Simultaneously, we will explore female friendship as a formal category, examining how the verbal or visual language in which female friendship is expressed allows us to think about the narrative principles of the texts/films/paintings we will be looking at over the semester.

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