The New Woman:1880-1920 - EN713

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Canterbury
Autumn 6 30 (15) DR S Lyons checkmark-circle

Overview

The New Woman, a controversial figure who became prominent in British literature in the late nineteenth century, challenged traditional views of femininity and represented a more radical understanding of women's nature and role in society. She was associated with a range of unconventional behaviour – from smoking and bicycle-riding to sexuality outside marriage and political activism. This module will examine some of the key literary texts identified with the New Woman phenomenon including women’s journalism in the period. The module’s reading will be organised around central thematic concerns such as: sexuality and motherhood; suffrage and politics; career and creativity. We will consider to what extent the New Woman was a media construction or whether the term reflected the lives of progressive women in the period. This module will also examine how the New Woman became a global phenomenon, beginning with the plays of Henrik Ibsen, before spreading to literature, journalism, and political essays produced around the world by writers from Britain (Mathilde Blind, Mona Caird, Margaret Harkness, George Gissing, Amy Levy, Evelyn Sharp, and Augusta Webster), America (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), Australia (George Egerton), India (Sarojini Naidu), New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield), and South Africa (Olive Schreiner). The module will also consider the legacy of the New Woman in a neo-Victorian novel, Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet (1998).

Details

This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 32
Private study hours: 268
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

100% Coursework:

One essay (3,000 words) (45% each)
Research task (3,000 word) (45%)
Seminar participation (10%)

Indicative reading

Primary Texts:

Caird, M. (1989) The Daughters of Danaus. New York: CUNY Press.
Gissing, G. (2008) The Odd Women. Oxford: OUP.
Ibsen, H. (2003) A Doll's House and Other Plays. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Perkins Gilman, C. (2015). Herland. London: Vintage.
Schreiner, O. (2008). Story of an African Farm. Oxford: OUP.
Waters, S. (1998). Tipping the Velvet. London: Virago

Secondary Texts:

Heilman, A. (2000) New Woman Fiction: Women Writing First-Wave Feminism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Parkins, W. (2009) Mobility and Modernity in British Women's Novels, 1850s-1930s: Women Moving Dangerously. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of New Woman literature as an identifiable sub-genre of literature chiefly in novels, short stories and poetry but also evident in journalism and drama in the period 1880-1920.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the social, cultural and political contexts in which the New Woman phenomenon emerged, focusing on Britain in the period 1880-1920, but with an awareness of the global spread of this phenomenon.
3. Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of how New Woman literature deployed or adapted conventions of literature drawn from realism, decadence and modernism.
4. Demonstrate enhanced understanding of how the New Woman phenomenon has been rediscovered and examined in current literary criticism, neo-Victorian fiction and cultural history, from the 1990s to the present.
5. Demonstrate enhanced knowledge of the writing careers and the publication history of the authors studied.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Apply the methods, techniques and terminology of close reading to a range of literary texts in different genres.
2. Apply understandings of historical context to the interpretation of literary texts.
3. Undertake self-directed research and critically evaluate secondary theoretical or historical perspectives in that research.
4. Construct coherent, articulate and well-supported arguments using a variety of methods.
5. Demonstrate the capacity to carry out independent research.

Notes

  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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