ENGLISH 460 - Studies in the Novel
Winter 2014, Section 001 - Virginia Woolf: Life and Writing
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
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In the spring of 1933, writing in her diary, Virginia Woolf recorded her realization that writing was not simply her profession, the way she passed many hours of virtually every day, but the means by which she assembled her sense of herself and of the world in which she lived: "I thought, driving through Richmond last night, something very profound about the synthesis of my being: how only writing composes it: how nothing makes a whole unless I'm writing.”

Even the briefest survey of her oeuvre can leave us wondering at the extraordinary scope of this continuous act of composition: nine novels, two biographies, literally hundreds of essays, and two book-length works of non-fiction prose, c.3000 pages of letters, c.1500 diary pages, reading notes, drafts into the thousands of pages . . . Because of the centrality of writing to her life, and because so much of that writing is readily available to us, Woolf is especially well studied in a term-long course, built around reading her novels but augmented and enriched by readings in the other forms in which she wrote. Your essays and class work will allow you to become familiar with some of this other material as well. Over the course of the term, we spend together reading Woolf, I believe you will become convinced — if you are not already — that her writing constitutes one of the most ambitious, most important, most moving bodies of work in English literature.

Required Texts: (all editions published by Harcourt, with the important exceptions of The Voyage Out and the Room and Three Guineas collection [Oxford] and Jacob's Room [Norton])

  • The Voyage Out (Oxford World Classics) 1915
  • Jacob's Room (Norton Critical Edition) 1922
  • Mrs. Dalloway 1925
  • To the Lighthouse 1927
  • A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas 1929 / 1938
  • The Waves 1931
  • Between the Acts 1941

Optional Texts:

  • A Writer’s Diary — selections from Woolf’s diary, assembled by Leonard Woolf, published in 1953.
  • Moments of Being: A collection of Woolf’s autobiographical writings

English 460 Syllabus

Course Requirements:

You will write three medium-length essays, with the option of revision and resubmission of the first two, for the course. There will be a final exam and students will generate questions for discussion throughout the term.

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Class Format:

I will run the class in a lecture / discussion format.


ENGLISH 460 - Studies in the Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM

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