VIEWS: 61 PAGES: 6 POSTED ON: 4/3/2010
Special Author: Virginia Woolf Q3023 Autumn 2009 ______________________________________________________________ Pam Thurschwell Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Arts B 222; Extension 8721 Office Hours: (tba) Course Description In this course we will focus on the work of one of the best-known writers of the twentieth century, Virginia Woolf. This course aims to deepen your knowledge and understanding of Woolf‟s work, both in its historical context and in terms of the kind of conceptual and theoretical questions which her work has been seen to raise. It is designed to challenge the kinds of preconceptions that readers often bring to Woolf‟s writing. We will consider what might happen if we stop reading Woolf solely as a modernist, or as a woman writer; we will pursue conceptual and historical frames that will illuminate her work still further. By the end of the course, we will have read many of Woolf‟s novels, sampled some of her writing in other genres, and become familiar with the critical reception of her work. In addition, students will have learnt how to devise, structure, pursue, and realise an independent research project. Assessment Seminar attendance and participation (weekly, 2 hours) 1 1500 word essay, due week 7 1 group presentation 4000 word essay, due in summer term Week 1: Introduction To the Lighthouse (1927) „Modern Fiction‟ (1919) available online at http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/woolf/virginia/w91c/chapter13.html „Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown‟ (1924) Secondary Reading: Auerbach, Eric. “The Brown Stocking.” Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Trans. Willard Trask. (first published 1946). Week 2: Outside Night and Day (1919) Mrs Dalloway (1925) 1 „Street Haunting: A London Adventure‟ (1927) Secondary Reading: Squier, Susan M. Virginia Woolf and London: The Sexual Politics of the City. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1985. Chapters 4 and 5. Bowlby, Rachel. “Walking, women and writing: Virginia Woolf as flâneuse.” Still Crazy After All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis.” London: Routledge, 1992. 1-33. Week 3: Inside Jacob’s Room (1923) Stories: “The Lady in the Looking-Glass: A Reflection” (1929) and “A Haunted House” Secondary Reading: Laura Marcus, „The Novel as Elegy: Jacob’s Room and To the Lighthouse‟ in Virginia Woolf. Plymouth: Northcote House Publishers, 1997. Clare Taylor, Helen. “Architecture in Woolf‟s Fiction” Virginia Woolf Miscellany. (46): 1995. 4. Week 4: Library visit to Special Collections/Woolf Archive You should use this week to get ahead with the readings for week 5, 6 and 7 which are heavy. Week 5: Politics A Room of One’s Own (1929) Three Guineas (1938) Zwerdling, Alex. “Anger and Conciliation in A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas.” Virginia Woolf and the Real World. Berkeley: U of California P, 1986. 243-270. Showalter, Elaine. “Virginia Woolf and the Flight into Androgyny.” A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1977. 263-297. Moi, Toril. “Introduction.” Sexual/Textual Politics. London: Routledge, 1985. Week 6: Water I The Voyage Out (1915) Ruotolo, Lucio P. “Being Chaotic: The Voyage Out.” The Interrupted Moment: A View of Virginia Woolf’s Novels. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1986. 19-46. . 2 Week 7: Water II The Waves (1931) DiBattista, Maria. “The Waves: The Epic of „Anon‟.” Virginia Woolf’s Major Novels: The Fables of Anon. New Haven: Yale UP, 1980. 146-189 Week 8: History I: Objects Orlando (1928) “Solid Objects” (1920) Secondary Reading: Bowlby, Rachel. “Things.” Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1997. 100-109. Mao, Douglas. Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1998. 26-89. Week 9: History II: War Between the Acts (1941) “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid”(1940) Zwerdling, Alex. “Between the Acts and the Coming of War.” Virginia Woolf and the Real World. Berkeley: U of California P, 1986. 302-23. Barrett, Michèle. “Virginia Woolf and Pacifism.” Woolf in the Real World. Ed. Karen V. Kukil. Clemson, South Carolina: Clemson U Digital P, 2005. 37-41. Week 10: Rewriting Woolf Michael Cunningham, The Hours (film showing to be arranged) Presentations Each student will sign up for one presentation in the first class. Presentations will be about ten to fifteen minutes in length and will be done in groups of two or three. The aim is to introduce or discuss one aspect of Woolf‟s works. All presentations should include questions to prompt seminar discussion. These presentations can involve a close reading of a single passage of one of Woolf‟s novels, or larger thematic or stylistic concerns. They should not be biographical: they 3 are to focus on the content of Woolf‟s writing, and not her life. They can, however, be on a topic you might pursue for your final dissertation. Additional Criticism The critical bibliography on Woolf is very large, so the list below is not meant to be exhaustive but to provide you with the starting points for your own research. Please ensure you also read the critical material listed for each week. Banfield, Ann. ThePhantom Table: Woolf, Fry, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000) Beer, Gillian. Virginia Woolf: the Common Ground and Arguing with the Past Bowlby, Rachel (ed.). Virginia Woolf (with a good annotated bibliography at the back) Bowlby, Rachel. Feminist Destinations and Further Essays Briggs, Julia (ed.). Virginia Woolf (1993), esp. essays by Hermione Lee, Gillian Beer, Julia Briggs, Sandra Kemp. DiBattista, Maria. Virginia Woolf's Major Novels (1980) Froula, Christine. Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Avant-Garde: War, Civilization and Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2005) Hussey, Mark The Singing of the Real World: The Philosophy of Virginia Woolf’s Fiction (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1986) (on Woolf and philosophy) Kane, Julie. „Varieties of Mystical Experience in the Writings of Virginia Woolf‟ 20th Century Literature 41:4 (Winter, 1995) 328-349 Lee, Hermione, Virginia Woolf (1996) (recent biography) Levenback, Karen. Virginia Woolf and the Great War (Syracuse UP, 1998) Light, Alison. Mrs Woolf and the Servants (London: Penguin, 2007) McNees (ed.), Virginia Woolf: Critical Assessments, 4 vols (1992) Marcus, Jane. Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy (ed) and Virginia Woolf: A Feminist Slant Marcus, Laura. Virginia Woolf Minow Pinkney, Makiko, Virginia Woolf and the Problem of the Subject (1987) Pridmore-Brown, Michele „1939-40: Of Virginia Woolf, Gramophones and Fascism‟ PMLA Vol 113, No. 3 (May 1998) Raitt, Suzanne. To the Lighthouse. Rice, TJ. Virginia Woolf: a Guide to Research (1994) (recommended for dissertations) Saint-Amour, Paul. „Air War Prophecy and Interwar Modernism‟, Comparative Literature Studies, Vol 42, No. 2 (2005) Some Suggested Essay Topics 1. As Hermione Lee writes in her biography, Woolf claimed to loathe egotism. Discuss the presentation of self or subjectivity in Woolf's work, perhaps in relation to notions of legacy, naming, or obscurity. 4 2. Woolf is well known for portraying “moments of being” akin in formulation to the Joycean epiphany. Consider her presentation of time (be it past, present, or future), possibly in relation to things fleeting or ephemeral. 3. Trace the evolution of a particular object or aspect of everyday life in Woolf's work, and set up an argument explaining the significance of her continual return to particular things. You might consider, for instance, letters, flowers, insects, clothing, food, windows, rooms, boats, the wind, light, or the sea. 4. Consider death and grieving in Woolf's writing. 5. Woolf is one of the most highly regarded authors of stream-of-consciousness narration. But it is important to remember that neither she nor her characters are directly rendering their thoughts on the page; in her fiction, a narrator always intervenes. Study two or three of Woolf's narrators, and determine what we might understand about who they are and the role they play in Woolf's writing. Are they authoritative, omniscient, judgmental, poetic, or occasionally bored? How do they affect the structure, tone, and content of Woolf‟s writing? Students who choose this question might want to consider Wayne Booth‟s The Rhetoric of Fiction, particularly Chapter 3, “„All Authors Should Be Objective,‟” and Chapter 6, “Types of Narration.” 6. In Woolf's early works in particular, she spends a great deal of time and energy considering the strictures of tradition, be it moral, social, or political. Examine Woolf's presentation of tradition in one early and one later work.. 7. Consider Woolf's presentation of the servant classes. 8. Why are social occasions so central to Woolf's novels? Think about events such as dinners, dances, parties, and, with particular reference to Orlando, carnivals. 9. Discuss the representation of race, “Englishness” and Empire in any two Woolf texts. 10. Discuss the representation of war and the role of language in war in any three texts by Woolf. 11. How inclusive is Woolf as a model for feminist criticism? 12. Discuss the representation of women's sexuality in three Woolf texts. 13. Any original subject you choose; please run your idea past me before you begin. Essay Plan Guidelines Your plan should include: a) An outline of the topic you intend to explore (two A4 sheets, double spaced) b) A list of the texts by Woolf you will concentrate on c) A bibliography of critical sources you have consulted and/or intend to consult in preparation for your dissertation 1. To help you define the topic you want to research you should ask yourself the following questions: 1.1 What is the central question I want to ask? e.g. „What is the connection between madness as a psychological discourse and imperialism as a political one in Woolf‟s work?‟. You can also formulate this question as a hypothesis, e.g.„Woolf‟s work sets out to establish a direct causal link between the discourse of madness and that of Empire - the madness and irrationality of Empire is the direct cause of the madness and irrationality of its subjects‟. 5 This question should emerge out of your reading both of Woolf‟s texts and of the critical texts on Woolf. It should be as specific as possible – phasing such as „the world and the self in Woolf‟s work‟ are best avoided. Remember that your aim is to build an argument, i.e. you should have a point you want to put across rather than just a topic you want to illustrate with apt quotations and references. 1.2 How am I going to address this question? Using the example from 1.1, consider: „I will analyse the ways in which madness and politics are intertwined in Woolf‟s texts through the interplay of character, language and setting‟. This then needs to be broken down into smaller bits, giving some examples, e.g., Septimus and Clarissa in Mrs Dalloway, Rachel and Helen in The Voyage Out, the linguistic and stylistic differences between the two texts, the settings in England and South America, etc. 1.3 How will I organise my essay? What subsections will it have? Do be careful as too many subsections can make an essay too fragmentary. Once you have determined the various themes and ideas you will address, compile examples from your primary texts (Woolf‟s writings) and secondary texts (criticism and research) under those headings. Remember to keep track of citations and page numbers so you can return to this information as needed. 1.4 How long do I plan to spend on the different phases of the essay? E.g. Christmas break: literature review of critical texts that relate to the topic of my dissertation; Spring term: re-reading Woolf‟s texts in detail; Easter break: writing up the dissertation. 2. These should be a minimum of three longer texts, and some critical essays. Shorter essays should not count towards the minimum number of texts. 3. It is your responsibility to identify the critical sources you will be using, but here are some suggestions to start you off: 3.1 A good starting point is to choose one critical essay you liked or found helpful and then use its notes and bibliography to identify other relevant texts. MLA Bibliography is a good on-line data base for articles and books published worldwide. Some hard- copy bibliographies of works on Woolf can also be found in the library (PF88206). 3.2 Your provisional bibliography should list a minimum of 10-12 texts. You may use web sites as starting points for your research, but unless they are peer-reviewed sources (ask if unsure), they will not be considered credible if cited within the body of your essay. You may use any bibliographical style you choose as long as you use it consistently. I would recommend the Chicago Manual of Style system, available on line at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html 6
"Special Author Virginia Woolf Q3023"