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Spectacles of Punished Women

ENGL 255.401
TR 3-4:30

Popular culture has always enjoyed punishing women, but audience attitude to that punishment depends on our times, our gender and class, and to a degree this course will examine on the genre of the work.

We will examine punished women in literature of the nineteenth century and, probably, some films of the twentieth century. Among the questions we shall consider are the relation between punishment and the work's ideology of justice, the degree to which we are urged to enjoy or deplore a woman's punishment, the methods which turn that punishment into a cry of injustice and an inducement to social change.

Among the works we shall read are: Jane Austen, EMMA; Tolstoy, ANNA KARENINA; George Eliot, ADAM BEDE; Dickens, GREAT EXPECTATIONS; Ellen Wood, EAST LYNNE; and Tennyson, IDYLLS OF THE KING. Films might include BROKEN BLOSSOMS, PSYCHO, and FATAL ATTRACTION.

Each student will present at least one oral report and write a 10-20-page paper on a work not covered in class.