Women and Literature: Contemporary Women Writers
This course will cover a wide range of fiction by contemporary women writers from the U.S., Canada, England, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. The first part of the course will explore several versions of the "mad woman in the attic" motif and consider the effects of patriarchal oppression in several different cultural contexts. The second part of the course will take a more optimistic turn and focus on various forms of resistance and creative self-affirmation. We will consider feminist revisions of received traditions and narrative forms, e.g., fairy tales; magic and other marginalized forms of knowledge; official and unofficial versions of history; and the politics of textual interpretation. Readings may include: McCullers, Ballad of the Sad Café; Lessing, The Grass is Singing; Plath, The Bell Jar; Rhys, The Wide Sargasso Sea; Al-Shayk, The Story of Zahra, Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions; Morrison, Song of Solomon; Erdrich, Tracks; Winterson, Oranges are not the Only Fruit; Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven; Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale; Van der Vyfer, Entertaining Angels. We will also view the Argentinian film The Official Story.