ENGL 525:
Women in Literature
Spring 2006; TU 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Schedule of Classes | Web Resources | Bulletin Board

Class Discussion Schedule 

Professor Westman
English/CS 106; 532-2171
Office Hours: T, U 9-10 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 (1996, 1998)
Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991)
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985) (Anchor Books)
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (2002) (Pantheon)
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 1/5/06 at A&S Copy Center in Eisenhower Hall)
Note: Prerequisites for taking ENGL 525 include at least one of the following: English 125 (Honors English 2) or English 200 (Expository Writing 2).  

Course Description:
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:
Course Objectives
Reading and Class Participation: Any literature course is a reading-intensive experience, so plan accordingly! Our class will be based on discussion, so class participation is expected and will count for 20% of your final grade. "Class participation" is not the same as just showing up and taking notes: you must be an active presence in the class. To participate, you must complete the reading assigned for each class session, think carefully about what you have read, and come to class ready to share your ideas. For each class, bring the appropriate book or course pack, so you can not only contribute to discussion but also mark passages that we discuss; this process will help you understand, remember, and review.

Your participation grade includes your contributions to our discussions in class (in large and small groups) and to our discussions on the Electronic Bulletin Board. I will expect at least one posting a week from each student to the Electronic Bulletin Board; the guidelines and instructions for using the Bulletin Board appear below.

Attendance: Obviously, you can't participate effectively if you aren't in class. Since the University requires that students attend all classes in which they are enrolled, there are no excused absences. You will not be penalized for your first two absences; thereafter, further absences will jeopardize your final course grade. Excessive or repeated lateness will also jeopardize your final grade. Excessive absences (six or more) may result in failure of the course. If you wish to receive a passing grade in this class, then, attendance is important.

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 an official notice of illness from the Health Center or your doctor. Classroom work or homework assignments missed due to absence cannot be made up. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out from another class member any announcements or assignments.

Leading Class Discussion: As part of the class participation grade, students will sign up in groups of three or four to initiate discussion for one of our class sessions. Questions for class discussion (4-5 in number) should highlight issues or themes or queries you think we should address in our class discussion of the reading assigned for that day, given the discussion topic listed below. After conferring about and drafting the questions, groups leading discussion should email me their questions by 7 p.m. the night before the class; I will confirm receipt and offer any suggestions for the order or focus of the questions.
Quizzes: Expect 8-10 quizzes during the semester at the start of the class session. Quizzes are designed to test your knowledge of the reading assigned for that class session and the critical skills we develop and practice during our discussions. The quizzes will consist of identifications and interpretive questions which will help you improve your critical skills and will allow me to evaluate those skills and your comprehension of the material.

I reserve the option to replace a quiz with a two-page, typed response paper, due at the start of class; if assigned, response papers would be in response to a particular interpretative question distributed at the previous class session. Quizzes (and response papers) will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 points: 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F. I will average the points at the end of the course after dropping the lowest grade.
Paper: You will write only one formal paper (6-7 pages) in this class: a persuasive argument in essay form, which will use one or two of our assigned texts to argue for your interpretation of the theme(s). If your paper is late, it will be penalized a full letter grade (i.e.: A to B) for each day it is late. Papers must be typed, double-spaced, with one inch margins and with a 10- or 12-point standard font; the pages should be spell-checked, proof-read, numbered, and stapled or paper-clipped together. Your name, my name, the date, and the type of assignment should appear in the upper-left hand corner of the first page.

A note on sources: a "Works Cited" page should accompany any assignment that cites books and other outside sources, and you should use the MLA method for documenting sources. When you turn in a paper, you pledge that the work is your own and that you have faithfully abided by the guidelines for documenting sources. The University's Honor Code obliges you to cite the source of any idea that is not your own. If you quote, paraphrase, or use another’s ideas, you must give credit to the person whose ideas you are using. Otherwise, you have plagiarized. If you have any questions, please ask. If you do plagiarize, you will fail this course.

Examinations: You will have a take-home midterm exam and a cumulative final exam. A missed exam counts as a zero; no make-up exams will be offered without an excuse from your dean or doctor.

Computing: Technology increasingly plays an important role in our academic and professional careers. Consequently, you will be asked to use some different kinds of technology, including an Electronic Bulletin Board discussion and electronic resources. Our work with technology is designed not only as another forum for exploring our reading, but as a way for you to sharpen your communication skills, media skills, and web skills for an increasingly technological age.

Electronic Bulletin Board: To offer another venue for discussion, I'll establish during the first week an electronic bulletin board for our class. Each student is required to post once a week about the materials we're studying in class. I will monitor these discussions and assess a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness both to our readings and to your classmates' comments in class and on the list.

An average posting should run about one or two paragraphs in length. In other words, your postings do not need to be long; however, they need to be substantive: they must be long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others’ comments whenever possible. I will offer models of successful comments early in the semester. Your grade for these postings will become part of your class participation grade.

To post to the bulletin board, follow these directions:
  1. Go to my homepage at http://www.ksu.edu/english/westmank/ and click on our course (ENGL 525).
  2. From the course web page, click on Bulletin Board.
  3. A window will pop up that asks for your user name. Type: engl525 (Be sure to use lower-case letters, since the software is case-sensitive.)
  4. Click into the password box and type the password I've distributed in class.
  5. You should see all the messages posted to date and the newest ones first. (If not, click on "Preferences" and set the options to "12 months" and "Mixed Threaded, Reversed." Click on the button that says "View Message Index." You should be able to see all the messages posted to the threaded bulletin board.)
  6. To post, you can choose to "post response" to a message you are viewing or you can "post a new message."
  7. I encourage you to select "post response," so you can engage directly in the conversation and your message can "thread" beneath the one you're responding to. I also encourage you to change the subject line so it reflects the content of your message. Whichever option you choose, you will have to enter your name, your email address, and the subject of the message. You can preview your message before sending it; then, click "post message."

Email: I highly recommend email as a way of touching base with me about your work for the class -- a kind of virtual office hours. You can send me queries about reading or writing assignments, your thesis statement for an essay, or anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check my email throughout the day, but please remember that I am not perpetually online.
Conferences: I want you to succeed in this course, and I am happy to meet with you about your work and your progress. I encourage you to see me before exams or papers are due, or if you have questions about material we discuss in class. Please feel free to stop by during office hours (T, U 9:00-10:00 a.m.), or contact me by phone or email to arrange a more convenient time to meet.
Note: If you have any condition such as a physical or learning disability that will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined it or which will require academic accommodations, please notify me in the first two days of the course.

Quizzes 25%
Class Participation 20%
In-class 10%
Postings 10%
Paper 15%
Take-Home Midterm 15%
Final Exam 25%

Schedule of Classes

Note: All assigned reading should be completed by the date listed.
[CP]= Class Pack

Tradition and the Gendered Talent

January U 12
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 17
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 24
"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 26
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 31 Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (3-185)
U 2
Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (186-335)
T 7
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
U 9
Rossetti, "In an Artist's Studio" and "Goblin Market" [CP]
T 14 L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1-192)
U 16
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

Taking the Pen in Hand...
T 21
Woolf, from A Room of One's Own; Adrienne Rich, "When We
Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision" [CP]
U 23 Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) (9-64)
T 28
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)
March U 2
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?
F 3 Take-Home Midterm Exam Due to my mailbox in ECS 119 by 5 p.m
T 7 Jeanette Winterson, The Passion (3-76)
U 9
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"
T 14
Pat Barker, Regeneration (3-145)
U 16
Barker, Regeneration (149-252); reviews of Regeneration [CP]
Discussion #4: Women Writing about War
Spring Break - March 20th - 24th
T 28
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1-106)
U 30 Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (109-197)
T 4
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]
U 6 Satrapi, Persepolis Discussion
T 11 Gloria Naylor, Mama Day (1-165)
U 13 Naylor, Mama Day (166-312)
Discussion #6: The Natural, the Supernatural, and Belief
F 14 Prospectus for Paper Due to my mailbox in ECS 119 by 5 p.m.
T 18 Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1-268)
U 20 Rowling, Azkaban (269-435)
T 25 Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary (1-153)
U 27 Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary (157-271); film of Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) on your own; reader comments/reviews [forthcoming]
Discussion #7: Bridget on Film
F 28
Paper #2 Due (6-7 pp.) to my mailbox in ECS 119
by 5 p.m.; information about MLA citiation format
May T 2
Selected Poems: Fleur Adcock, Wendy Cope, Margaret Atwood,
Carol Ann Duffy, and Erica Jong [CP]
U 4 Review
W 10  Final Exam (IDs & Essay), 9:40 - 11:30 a.m.


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Department of English | Kansas State University
Email: westmank@ksu.edu
Last updated 13 April 2006