WOMEN WRITERS
Fall 2012
ENGL A385:051/G385:051

Wednesdays 6:20-9:00 p.m.
Communications 303

Dr. Barbara C. Ewell
Loyola University New Orleans

Revised, August 18, 2012.   While everything is always subject to revision, this material is now confirmed.  Note that this course will be videotaped for students in the Distance Learning Program (DLP).







Lady Wisdom instructing her disciples

[Medieval mss.]

We are the custodians of the world's best kept secret:
Merely the private lives of one half of humanity.
       
                                ---from "Pro Femina" by Carolyn Kizer

Re-vision--the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction--is for women more than a chapter of cultural history: it is an act of survival.                                      --from "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision" by Adrienne Rich

Literature and language, as we sometimes forget, do teach values, do shape images and perceptions of self, of society, and of how these are related.
                                                                                                          ---from Myths of Co-Education by Florence Howe

These quotations help to define the specific goals of this course on writing by women:

  • to read and survey the traditions of literature by women, largely in English and predominantly from Britain and North America;
  • to develop some awareness of the current issues in feminist literary criticism;
  • to understand the ways that women's lives and values are reflected in their writing;
  • to examine some of the diversity in human experiences and how individuals confront differences;
  • to articulate in writing, both formal and informal, an understanding of these issues;
  • to explore the relevance of these writings to our own life and times.

Course Prerequisites
Prerequisite course required: ENGL-T125 or ENGL-A205 or equivalents.

Requirements (tentative)
--Weekly comments posted on Blackboard.com.
--One formal essay (including preliminary work; 1200-1500 words).
--Group presentation/project.
--Final examination.

TENTATIVE TEXT LISTS
Required:
The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Traditions in English [Third Edition]. Eds. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. New York: Norton, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-393-18850-9 [includes bundled copy of Wide Sargasso Sea]
Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. 1929; New York: Harvest, 1989. ISBN: 0156787334
Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. 1966; New York: Norton, 1996. ISBN: 0393308804 [if purchased separately or not from Loyola Bookstore]

Recommended/Optional:
Instant Access: The Pocket Reference for Writers. Michael L. Keene and Katherine H. Adams. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. ISBN: 0072819928

Many of these books may also be available for purchase at Maple Street Books (support your local bookstores!).  If you're trying to cut costs, some texts are also available secondhand through other commercial booksellers.

Syllabus
Below is a sample of the weekly readings; a full schedule will be posted on Blackboard in late August. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which is included in the Norton Anthology, will be one of our longer texts, if you want to get a head start on the readings.

Week 1: Introductions: Defining the issues.
Background reading: Norton Anthology of Literature by Women (NALW), “Literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance."  Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich.

Week 2:
NALW, Anne Bradstreet; “The Prologue,” “The Author to her Book,” “To My Dear Husband,” “Upon the Burning of Our House." Aphra Behn, Oroonoko.
Background reading: NALW, “Literature of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries."

*Note on Loyola Email and Blackboard:

IF YOU DECIDE TO REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE, BE SURE THAT YOUR  E-MAIL ADDRESS IS ACCURATE IN LORA and on BLACKBOARD; IF IT ISN'T, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS COURSE.