Fall 2017 HC 221H: Gender Matters

Fall Term, 2017-2018

Professor: Katy Brundan

4 credits

  • CRN 16832: Monday & Wednesday, 14:00 – 15:20 @ MCK 347

This course presents us with literary texts in which gender plays a significant role, raising questions about gender, sexuality and issues of power. We will read influential texts from the classical period to the eighteenth century featuring feisty heroines, transgressive gender roles, and an utopia of intersex inhabitants. Language plays a key role in the representation of gender in these texts, so we will pay special attention to linguistic matters such as rhetoric and riddles, insults and inscription, speech and silence. Some of our texts are rewritings or modern versions of older texts, illuminating how earlier works are interpreted and reworked by subsequent generations, transforming literary genres and philosophical debates.

During the course we will make a visit to the Special Collections in the Knight Library to view some beautiful medieval manuscripts. Texts include Sophocles’ Antigone, Sappho’s poems, Marie de France’s lais, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Gabriel de Foigny’s utopian work, The Southern Land, Known, and Choderlos de Laclos’ novel, Dangerous Liaisons. This course introduces some literary theory. Assignments include formal essays, with plenty of scope to develop individual interests.