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ENG 264

Women and Literature: Topics

Introduces students to the work of women writers and the importance of gender as a category of literary analysis. Issues covered may include: images of women in literature by women and men; impediments women writers have faced; women's writing in historical/social context; feminist literature; intersections of race, class and gender. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities- or -Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 course

Spring Semester information

Meryl Altman

264A: Women and Literature: Topics: Nine Women Poets

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.

--Muriel Rukeyser

In this class, we'll develop a sense of the range and power of women's lyric and epic voices through in-depth close reading of the work of Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Anna Akhmatova, H.D., Muriel Rukeyser, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Adrienne Rich. The themes of the class will emerge from our discussions, and from your individual explorations as you read and write, but some themes are likely to include oppression and freedom, search for a tradition, childhood and motherhood, sexual self-expression, poetry and feminism. Each of you will also choose an additional poet for an independent final project, and we'll spend the last week of class sharing what you found. (Be prepared to read a lot, and to write every week.)


Fall Semester information

Susan Hahn

264A: Women & Lit:Topics: Women, Writing, a Space

In this class we will read 10-12 short novels by women from diverse experiences, such as Joy Kogawa (Obasan), Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye), Helena Miria Viramontes (Under the Feet of Jesus) and Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre). This class is loosely shaped around the themes of the three words in the title, Women, Writing, a Space. From Virginia Woolf's notion that every women needs a "room of her own" in order to write, to Viramontes description of the homelessness of migrant farm working women and their families, to Kogawa's novel about the forced "relocation" of Japanese families during the second world War, we will explore through fiction how women are silenced by not having "a space"-and how women find both a literal space and a voice through writing. We will explore how writing itself often becomes a space for women.