ENGLISH 315 - Women and Literature
Section: 001 Women and Writing in Medieval and Early Modern England
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

This course surveys the remarkable literary works by the earliest women writers in the English tradition. We will explore the literary and social contexts of women’s writing in order to understand its surprising history, including the factors that encouraged and discouraged women’s writing and reading, the genres with which they were associated, and the material forms their writing took (from graffiti to deluxe books made for royal patrons). Among other questions, we will ask how gender and sexuality were important to writing and reading literature in medieval and Tudor England and how women’s writing shaped the category of “literature” in this crucial early period. We’ll also look at the way that women’s literary production—and the ideas about gender and writing that inform it—shift during the transition from manuscripts to the first printed books, and we’ll consider how recent digital archives are changing the history of women’s writing now. Along the way, we’ll explore how this material helps us ask questions about how genres are gendered now (for example, as “chick lit”), and whether, when, or how the work of contemporary writers is sold, circulated, or read as “women’s writing.”

The course readings will showcase the amazing range of women’s writing in the early period, from poetry about love, religion, and politics, to stories about dragon-killing virgins or fairy lovers who rescue hapless knights, dream visions about an all-female court, and the earliest autobiography in English.

ENGLISH 315 - Women and Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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