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Virginia Woolf

ENGL 261.301
TR 9-10:30

In some courses one is given the chance to meet a number of fascinating people through their work and in others one is invited to get to know one person well. This seminar is of the second sort. Virginia Woolf wrote of one of her characters, "one needed fifty pairs of eyes to see her with," and Woolf herself has so many facets that multiple perspectives are useful for understanding her. Best known for her novels, she was also one of the century's most prolific diarists and letter writers, a respected literary critic, and a subtle biographer and autobiographer. Her own life was complicated by manic-depressive illness and a series of personal tragedies as well as the tumult of an age that moved from the relative stability of the Victorian period through two World Wars. In this class we shall read from many of her works to try to see through her eyes and understand her continuing importance to readers today. Students in the course will be expected to keep a journal, to lead discussion at various points in the term, and to write one major paper by semester's end, preferably submitted first in draft form to allow for revision.