Women Writers in Britain
TR 9:45-11:00 | Urmila Seshagiri
“What a lark! What a plunge!” thinks Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway on a June morning in London. This course takes students on a lark and a plunge through the extraordinary accomplishments of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), author, publisher, critic, diarist, arts patron, and center of modernist culture. We will study Woolf’s reinventions of the English novel in Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Flush, and The Waves. We will read her feminist manifesto A Room of One’s Own, as well as selected short stories and critical essays; we will end with her radical memoir, Sketch of the Past. Along the way, we’ll meet socially and artistically daring members of the Bloomsbury Group, confront the devastation of World War I, and trace developments in global modernism. We will consider Woolf’s international legacy in contemporary writing by Annie Ernaux (France), Arundhati Roy (India), J. M. Coetzee (South Africa), Alison Bechdel (United States), and Ian McEwan (England). Finally, we will see how Woolf shapes 21st-century film, dance, theater, opera, fashion, and photography.
Regular attendance, two essays, midterm, two reading journals, in-class group presentation.