English 453

ENGL 453
The Female Literary Tradition

Catalog Entry

ENGL 453. The Female Literary Tradition
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: CORE 101 and CORE 102.

Study of the distinctive literary heritage shared by women writers in England and North America from the Renaissance to the present. The theoretical grounding of the course is current French and Anglo-American feminist criticism, from which perspective the course traces the development of a women’s literary tradition in English and considers a number of issues pertinent to the study of women’s writing, women’s relationship to a dominant literary tradition, representations of female experience in both the dominant and the female tradition, gender and genre, and female creativity.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Grounded in contemporary feminist theory and attentive to differences of race, class, ethnicity, nationality, region, and sexual orientation in texts studied, the course focuses upon British and American women writers to discern the development of several women’s literary traditions in English. In addition to studying literary texts by women writers from a number of historical periods, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic groups, the course introduces students to feminist theory from a range of perspectives including Marxist, psychoanalytic, and new historicist. The study of theory enables students to reexamine their own reading strategies and to develop new reading


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course allows for a variety of learning activities and teaching strategies, using reading, speaking, and writing to facilitate learning and to shape knowledge. Students read a wide variety and substantial amount of literary and critical texts; they are actively engaged in the construction of knowledge through the use of informal, reflective writing; formal essay writing; individual research projects; small group and large group discussion; lecture; and individual or group student projects. Writing requirements may include informal writing such as reading journals, reader’s logs or impromptu in-class free-writing. Formal writing may include essay examinations, both take-home and in-class; critiques of primary and/or secondary texts; analytical essays; research projects culminating in the completion of a research paper or class presentation. Student presentations may include panel presentations or creative group projects, individual or group web-based presentations on research topics, individual or group PowerPoint presentations on research topics, oral presentations of analytic essays at the mid-term or final, etc. Students may be encouraged to present dramatizations of literary texts, or to respond creatively to literary texts by using another creative medium in the plastic or graphic arts, music, or dance.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The goals of this course are several: (1) students will become familiar with several traditions of women's writing in England and America; (2) students will develop reading strategies most appropriate to the reading of these texts; (3) students will become knowledgeable about how race, class, ethnicity, nationality, region, and sexual orientation shape women’s writing; (4) students will become knowledgeable of the variety of feminist literary critical theory and practice that has helped to illuminate the reading of women's literature; (5) students will be able to work from a firmly grounded critical perspective in their reading of texts in order to address issues pertinent to the study of women's writing, such as: women's relationship to the dominant literary tradition; representations of female experience in the dominant tradition; the development of an Anglo-American women's tradition; and the diversity of women’s literary traditions shaped by differences of race, class, ethnicity, nationality, region, and sexual orientation.


Assessment Measures

Knowledge of the variety of traditions in women’s writing and of the theory that illuminates this writing may be measured by a number of assessment devices including, but not necessarily limited to, the following: informal writing to make meaning of texts; formal, revised and edited writing to analyze texts and to synthesize thinking about texts and theory; group or individual oral presentations; creative presentations; participation in group discussions; examinations--either in-class or take home, written or oral--to analyze and synthesize course material.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

October, 2009