LIT 400.03: Victorian Women Writers

Fall 2002

MWF 1-1:50
Main 300
Dr. Robert Fletcher
Main 524; x 2626
Hours: M 2-4, 6-7, WF 2-3


 
 
Description
Goals
Texts
Requirements
Policies
Schedule

 

Description

This seminar will introduce you to the wide variety of writing produced by women during the Victorian period in the UK, roughly 1830-1900.  We will read both canonical writers (such as Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Christina Rossetti) and newly rediscovered writers (like Augusta Webster and Mary Kingsley).  We will study the texts in relation to literary genres (like the novel, journalism, poetry, children's fiction) and cultural discourses (such as domesticity, law, religion, travel and colonialism).

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Goals

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Texts

Print: Electronic: Note:  The Railway Children is in print (Puffin, 1994) but was (like the Kingsley text) ordered for the course late.  Your may choose whichever format you prefer.

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Requirements

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Policies

Students with Disabilities:  We at West Chester University wish to make accommodations for persons with disabilities.  Please make your needs known by contacting me and/or the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at ext. 3217.  Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible.  The University desires to comply with the ADA of 1990.
Late Assignments: Papers or other assignments submitted late will have 1/3 of a grade deducted for each day (not class period) that passes after the due date. I will not accept any assignment more than 1 week late.

Plagiarism: "Plagiarism is using another's words or ideas without appropriate acknowledgement" (MLA Style Manual 4). In formal essays, "acknowledgement" means using conventions of citation such as the quotation marks and parenthetical note in the previous sentence. Even if you paraphrase someone's words, you must provide a note showing your debt. NOTE: If you plagiarize or use commercial study aids (e.g. Cliff's Notes), in your formal essays, you will receive an irrevocable "F" grade.

Attendance: You are permitted three absences during the semester, excluding those for major medical problems, which will be handled on an individual basis.  You may use these absences for any reason (death in the family, sick days, job interview, car breakdown, field trip, whatever).  In cases of extreme illness or emergency that will require prolonged absence, you are responsible for contacting Dean Bricketto (Student Affairs), whose office will contact your professors and make appropriate recommendations.  If you miss too much of the semester--even with a legitimate medical excuse--I may have to ask you to withdraw.  After the three cuts, your participation grade in the course will be lowered a grade for each cut.

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Schedule

 
Topic
Reading
Assignment
August
     
26
Introduction to Course
   
28
Women writers' shifting reputations
Joanne Wilkes, "Remaking the Canon" (Shattock 35)
Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
30
Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)
Chapters 1-9
 Biography: ___________________
September
     
4
 Wuthering Heights
 Chapters 10-17
 
6
 Wuthering Heights
 Chapters 18-23
 Critical reception: _________________
9
 Wuthering Heights
 Concluded
 
11
 The ideology of the separate spheres
 Elizabeth Langland, "Women's Writing and the Domestic Sphere" (Shattock 119)
 Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
13
 Gaskell, Cranford (1851)
 Chapters 1-4
 Biography: ___________________
16
 Expectations for women novelists
 Valerie Sanders, "Women, Fiction, and the Marketplace" (Shattock 142)
 Discussion questions: _______________
__________________________
18
 Cranford
 Chapters 5-11
 
20
 Cranford
 Concluded
Critical reception: _________________
23
 Poetry and gender
 Virginia Blain, "Women Poets and the Challenge of Genre" (Shattock 162)
 Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
25
 Barrett Browning, Sonnets . . . and Other Poems (1838-60)
 Poems on 1-23
 Biography: ___________________
27
 Barrett Browning, Sonnets . . . and Other Poems
 "Sonnets from the Portuguese" (24-42)
 
30
 Barrett Browning, Sonnets . . . and Other Poems
 Poems on 42-51
 Critical reception: _________________
October
   
 
2
Women's non-fiction prose
Barbara Caine, "Feminism, Journalism, and Public Debate" (Shattock 99)
Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
4
The first Victorian woman intellectual
Harriet Martineau, "Suggestions Towards the Future Government of India" (1858).  Do read the materials on historical context at Harriet Martineau and the India Question.
Biography: ___________________
7
 Women's legal status
 Frances Power Cobbe, "Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors" (1868)
 Biography: ___________________
Midterm Due
9
 Women's reading
 Margaret Beetham, "Women and the Consumption of Print" (Shattock 55)
 Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
11
 Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret (1862)
Chapters 1-10
 Biography: ___________________
14
Fall Break
16
 Lady Audley's Secret
 Be through Volume 2, Chapter 6
 
18
 Lady Audley's Secret
 Through Volume 2
 Critical reception: _________________
21
 Lady Audley's Secret
 Concluded
 
23
 Challenges to norms of gender and sexuality
 Lyn Pykett, "Women Writing Woman . . ." (Shattock 78)
 Discussion questions: _______________
__________________________
25
Augusta Webster, Portraits and Other Poems (1866-95)
"Circe" 178, "The Happiest Girl in the World" 185, "A Castaway" 192
Biography: ___________________
28
 Portraits and Other Poems
 "A Painter" 265, "An Inventor" 272, "A Dilettante" 278, "Mother and Daughter" 336
 
30
Portraits and Other Poems
"Sister Annunciata"         ???
 Critical reception: _________________
November
1
 Women and religion
 Elizabeth Jay, "Women Writers and Religion" (Shattock 251)
 Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
4
 Christina Rossetti, Poems and Prose (1862-97)
 "Sappho" 9, "When I am dead, my dearest" 18, "My Dream" 41, "A Chilly Night" 46, "A Triad" 50, "In an Artist's Studio"  52, "A Better Resurrection"  52, "A Nightmare"  57, "Winter: My Secret" 62, "At Home"  64, "Uphill"  65, "Noble Sisters" 72, "No, Thank You, John"  74, "A Christmas Carol" 108, "The Convent Threshold" 158
 Biography: ___________________
6
 Poems and Prose
 "Goblin Market"  162, "The Prince's Progress"  186, "Monna Innominata"   229
 
8
 Poems and Prose
 "Maude"  251, "The Lost Titian" 305
 Critical reception: _________________
11
 Professionalization
 Johnston and Fraser, "The Professionalization of Women's Writing . . . " (Shattock 231) or critical essay on colonialism and women writers
 Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
13
 Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa (1897)
 Chapters TBA
 Biography: ___________________
15
 Travels 
 Chapters TBA
 
18
 Travels 
 Chapters TBA
 Critical reception: _________________
20
 Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (1883)
 Part I
 Biography: ___________________
22
The Story of an African Farm
Through Part 2, Chapter 6
25
The Story of an African Farm
Concluded
Biography: ___________________
27-29
Thanksgiving Break
   
December
     
2
 Women and kiddie lit
 Lynne Vallone, "Women Writing for Children" (Shattock 275)
 Discussion questions: ________________
__________________________
Research Project Due
4
 Edith Nesbit, The Railway Children (1905)
 Chapters TBA
 Biography: ___________________
6
 The Railway Children
 Chapters TBA
 
9
 The Railway Children
 Chapters TBA
 Critical reception: _________________
Due Date 12/11, 1 p.m.
Final Exam Essay
 

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