Friday, January 6, 2012

Femininity and Literary Culture

Daffodils in the snow. Merrie England!
Ah, January: springtime, according to the British academic calendar! The terms used to go by boy-girl names like Hilary, but then the authorities decided to re-set the clock, in the manner of the Gregorians, minus the medieval chanting, so spring begins once the Christmas decorations are down, and with Hogmanay headaches still thumping.

From the oeuvre of Dr Guest
And this term has one module to look forward to, if you are lucky enough to be at (or within begging distance of) the University of York. (In England. Not the one in Toronto. Not New York. Old York. That one.) Harriet Guest, the director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, will be teaching the MA module entitled Femininity and Literary Culture: English Women Writers and the Politics of the 1790s and guess what, it focuses on Mary Wollstonecraft:
This module will explore on changing uses of the language of sensibility and its implications for the status of women at the turn of the century. It will focus on representations of Wollstonecraft, and of women who bear some resemblance to her, in texts more or less sympathetic to the arguments of her Vindication of the Rights of Woman. We will consider the implications of her death and of the war with France for representations of women in sentimental fiction.
Check out the provisional list of seminar texts:
  • Mary Hays, Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria (1799)
  • Charles Lloyd, Edmund Oliver (1798)
  • William Godwin, Memoirs of the author of the vindication of the rights of woman (1799), Hays’ and other posthumous accounts (photocopies).
  • Mary Robinson, Memoirs, and The Natural Daughter (1799)
  • Amelia Opie, Adeline Mowbray (1805)
  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Daffodils in the snow from Johnny Durnan 
[CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 

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