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Men, Women, and War: Literary Perspectives cancelled

ENGL 290.601
instructor(s):
Wednesdays 6-9:00

In this course we will consider how literary texts explore war as a gendered experience--as an experience that affects the way gender differences come to be apprehended culturally. Although we conventionally consider battle to be a consummately male space, as a zone in which men reveal (or fail to reveal) their true masculine selves, our literary and theoretical readings, which sample British and American literary responses to the U.S. Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Spanish Civil War, the Vietnam War, and the First Gulf War, will engage the complications behind such an assumption. Issues examined will include: how segregation by sex during wartime (women at home, men at the front) gets registered as an invitation for gendered divisions within the sexes; how literary texts often represent war not through battle, but through heterosexual romances that occur away from the front; how the traumas of war (shell-shock, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, physical maiming) get represented as experiences that emasculate men and empower women; and how pacifism gets coded as masculine or feminine under different historical circumstances. Authors considered will include: Louisa May Alcott, Joan Didion, Charles Frazier, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Norman Mailer, Tim O'Brien, Michael Ondaatje, Virginia Woolf. The course will include brief theoretical readings by Susan Jeffords, Elaine Scarry, and Elaine Showalter and viewings of the films Full Metal Jacket and Tank Girl