ENGL 3300: Women in Literature (The Geography of Romantic and Victorian British Women’s Writing)

Meeting Time: Mondays and Wednesdays from 12.30-14.30 (12:30 to 2:30).

We’ll now be meeting in Minnie’s Room at the HB Allen Centre, Keble College, for the rest of the semester.

English 3300, Fall 2022 focuses upon the geographical import of nineteenth-century British women’s writing, paying particular attention to representations of Great Britain and its imperial holdings. We’ll begin by reading Virginia Woolf’s descriptions of Oxford in A Room of One’s Own, as she establishes the scholarly interests that underlie her subsequent discussion of nineteenth-century women writers, many of whom we will then read, including Jane Austen, the Brontës, Mary Prince, and Christina Rossetti. We’ll move outward from Oxford to the Great House and Bath, where Austen sets Persuasion. From there we’ll examine “responses to Austen’s England by writers and protagonists of color. After that we’ll travel to the Yorkshire moors to immerse ourselves in the work of the Bronte sisters. Finally, we’ll conclude by reading texts focused upon the experience of working-class and colonial agents.

In reading these texts, we’ll explore the ways in which representations of geographical spaces, from city centers to the moors, facilitates the narrative and poetic representation of consciousness, in addition to connecting that consciousness to its material conditions. In other words, we’ll consider the ways in which these authors represent the construction of the human subject in the context of its own socio-historical moment of time and place in all of its complications.

Students will be encouraged to draw upon the inestimable archival and historical materials available to them upon walking outside the red doors of the Banbury Street residence. Course assignments can include research trips to the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. You’ll be encouraged to read works in manuscript and first editions, study paintings and material objects from the period, and visit still extant sites described in the assigned readings. It is my hope that you’ll begin your Oxford tutorials rooted in your temporary British home, while eager to explore the United Kingdom more extensively.

Course Expectations

Course Schedule

Course Assignments

Book List

Writing Resources: Essay Guidelines for English 3300 attached below, a download of the Writing Workshop Powerpoint and Grading Rubric.