ENGL 525B:
Women in Literature
Spring 2004; TU 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Schedule of Classes | Web Resources | Bulletin Board

Class Discussion Schedule 

Professor Westman
English/CS 106; 532-2171
Office Hours: T, U 8-9 a.m. & by app't.
Required Texts
Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) (Penguin)
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1907) (Penguin Puffin Classics)
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) (Norton Critical Edition)
JeanetteWinterson, The Passion (1987)
Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary (1999)
Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991)
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985) (Anchor Books)
Gloria Naylor, Mama Day (1987)
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
Class Pack (selected poetry, non-fiction prose, and critical essays; available on 1/22 at A&S Copy Center in Eisenhower Hall)
Course Description:
Literary works by or about women. Treats writers considered within various traditions, themes, or formal issues.
Course Objectives:
In this course we will study how a variety of women authors both respond to and reshape a tradition of literature that has typically been sexed as male and gendered as masculine. Issues we will explore include:
Requirements and General Expectations:
Class Participation and Attendance: Class participation is, of course, required. To participate, you must complete the reading assigned for each class session and think carefully about what you have read. Your attendance is therefore important. You will not be penalized for your first three absences; thereafter, your final course grade will drop. Excessive absences (six or more) may result in failure of the course. While I appreciate your offering explanations for absences, the only way to excuse an absence is to provide me with an official letter from your dean or advisor or an official notice of illness from the Health Center.
Leading Class Discussion: Depending on the number enrolled, students will sign up in groups of three or four to initiate discussion for one of our class sessions. Discussion leaders will encourage us to explore the connections between the secondary readings and our assigned primary reading. In most cases discussion topics are provided below. The group leading discussion should contact me at least one day in advance to confirm the focus of their discussion questions and should email me with their planned questions by 7pm the night before.

Papers and Response Papers: You will write two papers, one short (4-5 pp) and one long (7-8 pp), on topics of your choosing in connection with our readings. Both papers should follow the general rules of composition and be typed or word-processed with standard double-spacing, 1-inch margins, and either 10- or 12-point typeface. Title pages and cover sheets are unnecessary. Pages should be numbered, stapled together, and spell-checked. Papers are due by the date and time on the syllabus; late papers will be penalized one grade (i.e.: A to B) for each day late.

You will also write five weekly response papers (2 pp in length) in response to our readings. Response papers are designed to ready you for class discussion and to explore ideas you could develop further in your longer papers. Response papers are due on the day we discuss the reading.

If your response paper, you should not repeat previous class discussions or provide a mere summary of the reading. Instead, your response should begin to analyze the reading assigned for that class session, selecting an issue or theme or question you feel to be significant. (Refer to the sample response paper distributed in class.)

You can choose when to complete your five responses, with the following guidelines in mind: 1) you can only write a response for a day when we have reading due, 2) two responses must respond to novels, and 3) you must complete 3 responses before March 15th (Spring Break) and complete 2 responses after March 15th (Spring Break). Responses will be graded on a 1-5 scale: 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F. I do not accept late response papers. (Extra credit opportunities will go towards your response paper grade.)


Electronic Bulletin Board: To offer another venue for discussion, we'll start using an electronic bulletin board next week; technical details will follow shortly. Each student should post at least once a week to the bulletin board, responding to an existing thread of the conversation or initiating another; weekly postings will count towards your class participation grade. I'll monitor these conversations, and may also participate, but I see the bulletin board primarily as a way for you to raise issues we haven't addressed--or addressed fully or to your satisfaction--during our regular class meetings. Though extra postings to the bulletin board will not automatically replace participation in our class discussions, regular contributions above and beyond your weekly posting can certainly improve your class participation grade.
Grading: The two papers will count for 40% of your final grade (15% and 25% respectively); the response papers will count for 20% of your final grade. Class participation (20%) and a final exam (20%) complete the requirements.

Schedule of Classes

Tradition and the Gendered Talent
January U 22
Introduction: "Tradition and the Gendered Talent" (with apologies
to T.S. Eliot): Sidney, Sonnet #1 ("Loving in Truth,...");
Shakespeare, Sonnet #18 ("Shall I compare thee..."); Marvell,
"To His Coy Mistress"; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, "The
Lover: A Ballad"
T 27
Mary Wollstonecraft, from Vindication of the Rights of Woman
[CP]; selected poems: Anne Bradstreet and Anne Finch [CP]
Gilbert and Gubar, from The Madwoman in the Attic [CP]
T 3
"Debating Women: Arguments in Verse"; Jonathan Swift, "The
Lady's Dressing Room"; Montagu, "The Reasons that Induced
Dr. S. to write a Poem called The Lady's Dressing Room";
Aphra Behn, "The Disappointment" [CP]
Novels and Romances: The "Dangers" of the (Female) Imagination
U 5
Spectator #365; Samuel Johnson, Rambler #4; Jane Austen, from
Northanger Abbey; Sarah Stickney Ellis, from The Women of
England (1721-3); Harriet Martineau, from Autobiography
(1725-28); Janice Radway, from Reading the Romance (60-61);
selections from Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women (1-2,
4-6; 56-9; 133-9) [CP]
T 10
U 12
Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (3-185)
Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (186-335)
T 17
U 19
Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (339-489)
Critical readings on Bronte: Langland, from Anne Bronte: The
Other One
Optional reading: Frawley, "'The Fair Unknown': Privacy and
Personhood in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" [CP]
Discussion #1: "Acton Bell is neither Currer nor Ellis Bell":
Telling Tales to Find a Voice
Rossetti, "In an Artist's Studio" and "Goblin Market" [CP]
T 24
F 27
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1-192)
Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (193-369)
Selection of critical readings on Montgomery (select two): Epperly,
Nodelman, Rubio, MacLulich, and Berg [CP]
Discussion #2: Realism or Romance?: Nature, Culture, and the
Imagination in Anne of Green Gables
Paper #1 Due (4-5 pp) to my mailbox in E/CS 119 by 5 pm; information
about MLA citiation format

Taking the Pen in Hand...
T 2
U 4
Woolf, from A Room of One's Own; Adrienne Rich, "When We
Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision" [CP]
Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) (9-64)
T 9
U 11
Wide Sargasso Sea (64-112); critical essays by Rhys (in
Norton Critical edition): Rhys, "The Bible Is Modern" (148-149);
Rhys, from "Black ExerciseBook" (155-156)
Wide Sargasso Sea; excerpts from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
(119-132 ); excerpts from Rhys' letters & facsimile of mss.
(135-147); and Rody, "Burning Down the House..." (217-225)
(All readings in Norton Critical edition.)
Discussion #3: Wide Sargasso Sea as Rhys' Jane Eyre?
T 16
U 18
Jeanette Winterson, The Passion (3-76)
Winterson, The Passion (79-160)
Critical essays on and by Winterson: from Palmer, "The
Passion: Storytelling, Fantasy, Desire" [CP]; Winterson, "A
Work of My Own" [CP]
Optional critical reading: Westman, With "money and a room of her
own":The Legacy of Woolf's Advice for the Woman Artist at
Century's End"
Spring Break - March 22nd - 26th
T 30
U 1
Pat Barker, Regeneration (3-145)
Barker, Regeneration (149-252); reviews of Regeneration [CP]
Discussion #4: Women Writing about War
T 6
U 8
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1-106)
Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (109-197)
T 13
U 15
Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (199-311); from "A Reader's
Companion to The Handmaid's Tale" (316-321);reviews/critical
readings of Atwood (forthcoming)
Discussion #5: [Open Topic on The Handmaid's Tale]
Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary (1-153)

T 20

Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary (157-271); film of BridgetJones's Diary
(2001); reader comments/reviews (forthcoming)
Discussion #6: Bridget Jones Goes to Hollywood
U 22
Gloria Naylor, Mama Day (1-165)


T 27
U 29
Prospectus for Paper #2 Due (1-2 pp.) to my mailbox in
E/CS 119 by 5 p.m.
Naylor, Mama Day (166-312)
Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1-210)
T 4
U 6
F 7
Rowling, Azkaban (211-435)
Selected Poems: Fleur Adcock and Wendy Cope [CP]
Paper #2 Due (7-8 pp.) to my mailbox in E/CS 119
by 5 p.m.
T 11
U 13
Selected poems: Margaret Atwood, Carol Ann Duffy, and Erica
Jong [CP]
F 21
 Final Exam (IDs & Essay), 2 - 3:50 pm


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Email: westmank@ksu.edu
Last updated 23 February 2004