British Women Writers Since Woolf National Taiwan University
The course aims to survey the British novel since, and in the wake of, Virginia Woolf – paying specific heed to meaningful engagements with her example or interesting resistances, repressions, or downright avoidals. The focus is limited to novels written by British* women (avoiding for the most part commonwealth and colonial/postcolonial writers merely for reasons of economy [*although as usual British incorrectly includes Irish]). Without committing to any particular feminist or theoretical approach (we will survey several), I want us to read the novels, with a background sense of twentieth-century British cultural history, to see how different, talented writers respond to the formal and thematic challenges offered by Woolf, whom I see as a sort of hinge between the great nineteenth-century novelistic tradition and a very changed literary and political world of the twentieth. Major issues include tradition, women’s writing, Modernism and form, sexuality, gender, subversion and transgression. There is quite a bit of reading: we will spend two weeks per novel and read several different critical and theoretical approaches regarding each writer. Requirements, besides reading and class participation, will include a presentation and a long final research paper. Students are encouraged to draw the “alternates” into the discussion in their presentations or papers, as well as to explore other works by the main writers, many of whom (have) had long and fruitful careers.
The goal is to survey some good fiction not usually covered in classes for time constraints and pushing towards genuinely contemporary British writing. The course is not conceived as a footnote to Woolf by any means, nor a mere celebration of her work. Rather it takes her as a sort of starting point for an inquiry into British women's writing in the 20th century.
Each student will be required to present on one of the writers (primary or secondary material) and there will be one final semester paper. Naturally students are also required to do all the reading come to class, and to participate in discussions.
Online Course Requirement