Spring 2023

Woolf and Her Circles: British Women Writers, 1918-1939

Listed in: English, as ENGL-422  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-422


Lise Shapiro Sanders (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 422 and SWAG 422) Best known for her experiments with form and style in the modernist novel, Virginia Woolf was also deeply engaged with the literary and artistic currents of her time. This course addresses several of Woolf’s key texts alongside the work of lesser known women writers, both in the Bloomsbury Group and in overlapping activist circles. We will investigate how Woolf and her contemporaries grapple with issues such as the psychic and social damage wrought by the First World War; alternatives to conventional understandings of gender, sexuality, marriage, and domesticity; and the role of women in shaping new visions of a more equitable and just future. We will challenge notions of canonization in reading the work of Vera Brittain, Radclyffe Hall, Winifred Holtby, Katherine Mansfield, Jean Rhys, and Dorothy Sayers alongside Woolf's writings and those of the male modernists with whom she is often associated. In addition to weekly forum posts, two formal essays are required: a midterm paper (5-7 pages) involving close textual analysis of a primary source; and a final research paper (12-15 pages), with a draft to be revised in conjunction with a peer review workshop. Students will be encouraged to conduct research in local and digital archives.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor L. Shapiro Sanders.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to junior and senior English majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, discussion facilitation, group work, close textual analysis, revision, self-evaluation. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.

ENGL 422 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM CHAP 119
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM CHAP 119


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023