Dr. Lisa Crafton
Hum. #218 836-6844
Office Hours: M 9-11:30, T, Th 8:30-9:30
and by appointment
Linking herself to her character Angellica Bianca, Aphra Behn brings
together playwright and prostitute when she boldly claims to “hang out
the sign of Angellica” in
the “Postscript” to The Rover. In this course we will explore a diversity of literature by British women writers, from medieval mystic Julian of Norwich (who offers
the maternal female body as analogy to God, thus represesenting Jesus as mother) to Mary Shelley (whose characters grapple with “body” of any material sort) to
Virginia Woolf (who overcomes female reticence to acknowledge the female body and, thus, eliminate the “Angel in the House”) to Nadine Gordimer (who
represents the female body as a site of conflict including race, class, and gender in relations in South Africa). We will examine the readings in terms of how the body
comes to be represented, elided, manipulated, and reconceived in sexual, spiritual, economic, and aesthetic arenas. Course readings will require us to consider
allegorical, spiritual renderings of the body as in Dame Julian or the conflict between spiritual and sexual in the poetry of Rosetti; we will see the sexual, economic,
and political uses of the body in the body politic which Behn, Wollstonecraft, and Shelley represent; finally, in texts by Austen, Woolf, and Gordimer, we will explore
the intersection of the female body and social/cultural norms.
Required Texts and Materials:
Aphra Behn. The Rover and Other Works.
Mary Wollstonecraft. Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman.
Mary Shelley. Frankenstein.
Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice.
Nadine Gordimer. Jump and Other Stories.
Coursepack including works by Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Amelia Lanier, Christina Rosetti, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Janet Todd.
Selected critical readings from Anne Mellor, Romanticism and Gender and Janet Todd, The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing, and Fiction 1660-1800.
Departmental Course Objectives:
1. Students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of selected texts from literature by British women writers
2. Students will show comprehension and an application of theoretical and critical foundations for the interpretation of literature by British women writers, including an annotated bibliography and/or oral presentation of 10-12 secondary sources.
3. Students will reveal in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convicning and well-supported analysis of course-related material.
4. Students will display their command of academic English and of the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose, including 12-15 pages of research-based writing.
5. Students will be capable of conducting independent and meaningfulo course-related research and of synthesizing it in the form of a correctly documented research paper.
Relationship of course goals to program goals:
* This course prepares students to complete successfully the comprehensive oral examination that is required for all M.A. candidates.
* This course provides students with literary, historical, and critical contexts related to texts on the department's required reading list.
* Oral presentations in the course strengthen students' presentation skills and prepare them further for the oral comprehensive examination required for the M.A. degree.
Specific Course Objectives:
1. Students will read selections of literature in English by British women writers from the medieval to the contemporary period and be able to discuss them critically
2. Students will consider the nature of canonical and noncanonical texts and the ways in which women writers (specifically) or questions of gender (theoretically)
modify or challenge these concepts.
3. Students will examine the readings, specifically, in terms of how the female body comes to be
represented, elided, manipulated, and reconceived in sexual, spiritual, economic, and aesthetic arenas.
4. Students will demonstrate in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convincing and well-supported analysis of related material.
5. Students will demonstrate their command of academic English and the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose.
6. Students will learn to use discipline-specific computer technologies related to the study of language such as listservs, word processing, and internet research.
7. Students will be capable of conducting independent and meaningful course-related research and of synthesizing it in the form of a correctly documented research
paper prepared according to current professional standards.
8. Graduate students will omplete a longer and more theoretically-informed research project and will, in addition, lead class discussion on a focused issue through a
20 minute oral report.
Course Requirements and Class Policy:
1. CLASS PARTICIPATION AND RESPONSE JOURNAL: Primarily, this survey is a reading course. To ensure this objective, students must read and be
ready to discuss each assignment. We will use a reading journal—a collection of student responses to all the readings—for this purpose; as in all informal writing
activities, these will be shared in class and graded in terms of thoughtfulness and serious reflection (not as in product-based writing, where all elements of the writing
process, including mechanics, style, and editing are evaluated). Because of the significance of discussion, absences will definitely hurt your grade in this course.
2. WRITING ASSIGNMENTS: Students will complete three brief essays as well as one longer research paper for the course.
A. Students will submit two brief essays (3 pgs. maximum) in response to selected topics, two before and one after midterm. The purpose of these essays is to
demonstrate specific and focused writing in response to specific texts we study. Students may choose from 2-3 topics on each assignment.
B. The research paper (10 p. undergraduate, 12-15 p.graduate) for this course will investigate the works of a woman writer whom we have studied in the course..
Biographical studies are not allowed, although biographical criticism may, of course, be used in analysis of the works. These papers must demonstrate thorough
research (at least eight sources), organization and focus, and above all current and absolutely correct MLA citation style and bibliography. If you are not certain of
this requirement, see me the first week of the course. We will spend at least part of one class period on workshop for this paper.
3. EXAMS: We will have a MIDTERM exam and a FINAL exam, each requiring quotation discussion/analysis and essay.
4. FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS: Additional: One ORAL REPORT (15-20 min) on topic chosen in consultation with professor and a longer paper (12-15
5. ABSENCE POLICY: Much of the participation grade is based upon contributions to the class; the
first mandatory level of contribution is attendance! 3 or more absences will affect your participation grade substantially; 5 or more will ensure a failing grade in
Evaluation of assignments is based on the specific unique requirements for each: the participation shows interest and personal inquiry; the essays will be graded on
form and content equally, with absolutely correct MLA style necessary; the exams should demonstrate both specific knowledge and understanding of the material
and the ideas originated in class as well as a broader understanding of the issues raised by these texts.
10% Oral report for GRAD
Brief Essays 30%
Research Paper 20%
Oral Report (Graduate only) (GRAD 10%)
T 11 Introduction: Why study literature by women? Academic and professional issues / Literary histories
Th13 Medieval women’s lives; Julian of Norwich, “God the Mother,” from A Book of Showings;
T 18 Margery Kempe, from The Book of Margery Kempe; critical article (xerox)
Th20 Excerpt from Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book 9 (Eve’s fall); Amelia Lamier, from Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women)
T 25 Behn, The Rover; Oral Report on Restoration Drama and Behn’s contribution
Th27 Behn cont’d
T 1 Behn cont’d, from Todd, The Sign of Angellica; Assign essay #1
Th 3 Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; excerpts from conduct book literature for women (Gregory, Fordyce, Marriott)
T 8 Wollstonecraft, cont’d; Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman; essay #1 due
Th10 Maria, cont’d
T 15 Finish Maria; Shelley, Frankenstein
Th17 Frankenstein cont’d; assign essay #2
T 22 Group oral reports on Frankenstein
Th24 Frankenstein: The critical arguments (Mellor, Moers, et al)
and the female body; essay #2
T 29 Midterm Exam
Th 2 No Class—out of town conference
T 7 SPRING BREAK
Th 9 SPRING BREAK
T 14 Austen, Pride and Prejudice / First discussion of research paper
Th16 Austen, cont’d
T 21 Austen, Persuasion (film)
Th23 Persuasion, cont’d
T 28 Discuss Austen and context of British romantic women writers / workshop on research paper
Th30 Christina Rosetti, selected poems
T 4 Rosetti, cont’d; assign essay #3
Th 6 No Class—out of town conference
T 11 Woolf, “A Mark on the Wall,” “What If Shakespeare Had Had a Sister,” from A Room of One’s Own / essay #3 due
Th13 Woolf, cont’d
T 18 Research Paper Draft Workshop / Introduce Gordimer
Th20 Gordimer, Jump and Other Stories
T 25 Gordimer, cont’d / Research Paper Due
Th27 Conclusion: Why study literature by women? / Part One of Final Take-Home
Final Exam: Part Two Tuesday, May 9, 2:00-4:00