ENGL 200 A: Reading Literary Forms

The Modern Woman

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:30am - 10:20am
Location: 
MUS 223
SLN: 
14059
Instructor:
Heather Arvidson

Syllabus Description:

"The Modern Woman"

How would our understanding of modernity change if instead of taking male experience as paradigmatic, we were to look at texts written primarily by or about women? And what if feminine phenomena, often seen as having a secondary or marginal status, were given a central importance in the analysis of the culture of modernity?

---Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (1995)

This course is invested in tracing the emergence of a novel figure known as "The New Woman" or the "modern woman" through modernist literature and print culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We will ask how "the culture of modernity" finds particular definition with respect to this figure--not only in representing her in art and culture but also debating her significance and investing her with broader symbolic meanings related to individuality, sensibility, independence, and autonomy from convention. Focused on female authors, the course gives particular attention to the significance of artistic expression to exemplars of the "New Woman" type.

In this project we necessarily orbit another principal feature of the period: the city, which for women in particular constituted a space of profound intellectual, social, and sexual freedom but also a center of alienation, power, and potential violence. Taking London and New York as our principal locales, we will examine representations of women and urban experience in a range of poems, non-fiction pieces, short stories, and novels.

As these works attest, what was known as "the woman question" was in fact multiple questions, encompassing issues of mobility, individuality, political representation, sexuality, economics, race, and globalization. Throughout the quarter we'll be asking how each of our texts poses, and potentially answers, a woman question of its own. 

Authors may include Nella Larsen, Anita Loos, Sui Sin Far, Sarah Grand, Rebecca West, Jean Rhys, and Mina Loy. Assessment will be based on participation, weekly short assignments, and two formal papers. Students can expect to be reading and writing in preparation for every class meeting. Class time will be divided between large- and small-group discussions and short lectures.

Additional Details:

English 200, "The Modern Woman"

How would our understanding of modernity change if instead of taking male experience as paradigmatic, we were to look at texts written primarily by or about women? And what if feminine phenomena, often seen as having a secondary or marginal status, were given a central importance in the analysis of the culture of modernity?    ---Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (1995)

This class is invested in tracing the emergence of a novel figure known as "The New Woman" or the "modern woman" through modernist literature and print culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We will ask how “the culture of modernity” finds particular definition with respect to this figure--not only in representing her in art and culture but also debating her significance and investing her with broader symbolic meanings related to individuality, sensibility, independence, and autonomy from convention. Focused on female authors, the course gives particular attention to the significance of artistic expression to exemplars of the "New Woman" type.

In this project we necessarily orbit another principal feature of the period: the city, which for women in particular constituted a space of profound intellectual, social, and sexual freedom but also a center of alienation, power, and potential violence. Taking London and New York as our principal locales, we will examine representations of women and urban experience in a range of poems, non-fiction pieces, short stories, and novels.

As these works attest, what was known as "the woman question" was in fact multiple questions, encompassing issues of mobility, individuality, political representation, sexuality, economics, race, and globalization. Throughout the quarter we'll be asking how each of our texts poses, and potentially answers, a woman question of its own. 

Authors may include Nella Larsen, Anita Loos, Sui Sin Far, Sarah Grand, Rebecca West, Jean Rhys, and Mina Loy. Assessment will be based on participation, short assignments, and formal papers, and students can expect to be reading and writing in preparation for every class meeting. Class time will be divided between large- and small-group discussions and short lectures.

Catalog Description: 
Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 3:58pm