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Topics in Modern British Literature

ENGL 261.301
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30

This course, which could be entitled "en-gendering modernism", will first set out to define modernism, seen in a broad conceptual and historical context (which will entail a review of important theories of esthetics at the turn of the century) in order to concentrate on the question of feminine writing in this movement. A first part will be predominantly theoretical, and two books will be studied closely: Shari Benstock, Women of the Left Bank (1986) and the critical anthology edited by Bonnie Kime Scott, The Gender of Modernism. (1990). They shall be inserted in a wider conceptual context which will call upon texts Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud and Ibsen so as to situate the debate concerning the role of women in culture at the turn of the century. A second part will be devoted to the reading of novels. We shall for instance compare texts written by men in which the issue of femininity looms large, such as four chapters of Joyce's Ulysses  (the episodes entitled "Calypso", "Nausicaa", "Circe" and "Penelope") and texts written by women, Dorothy Richardson (sections from Pilgrimage), May Sinclair, Mina Loy and Virginia Woolf (Mrs Dalloway, Between the Acts). Requirements for the course include two papers of about eight pages, one oral presentation, and a final reasearch paper of about fifteen pages. No final exam.  (Note: Because this course includes readings in the critical-theoretical underpinnings of British modernism, it may well be counted in the concentrations of those majors focusing on literary criticism and/or critical theory.  Consult with your advisor.)