Literary history often portrays women as victims, confining their power to the islands of classical witches and the attics of Romantic madwomen. This course offers a revisionist response to such constraints of canonicity, especially as they pertain to the marginalization of female subjectivity in literature and culture. We will therefore explore a more diversified range of intellectual and experiential possibilities. The curriculum challenges traditional dichotomies - culture/nature, logos/pathos, mind/body - that cast gender as an essential attribute rather than a cultural construction.
Syllabus: Fall Semester
I. Myths of Origins
- Hymn to Demeter
II. Greece and Rome
- Aeschylus, Oresteia
- Ovid, Metamorphoses
III. The Middle Ages
- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (selected tales)
- Marie de France, Lais (selected tales)
IV. Early Modernity
- Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book
- Fairy Tales:
- Madame d'Aulnoy, "The White Cat"
- Madame Le Prince de Beaumont, "Beauty and the Beast"
- Charles Perrault, "The Sleeping Beauty
- Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, selected poetry
V. The Renaissance
- Shakespeare Resource Collection
VI. Restoration - 18th Century
- Aphra Behn, The Rover
- Lady Hyegyong, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong
Syllabus: Spring Semester
- John Milton, Paradise Lost
- Eliza Haywood, stories
- Madame de Lafayette, La Princesse de Cleves
- Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman
- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
- Emily Dickinson, selected poetry
IV. Theoretical Modernism
- Sigmund Freud, essays
- Modernism Resources
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"
- Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class
- E. T. A. Hoffman, "The Sandman"
V. Literary Modernism
- Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
- Gertrude Stein, Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights
VI. Contemporary Cultures
- Bessie Head, When Rainclouds Gather