- Course Number: ENGL 231
- Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 231
- Quarter: Spring 2023
This course fills English Department Field Requirement 1 and can be petitioned to the Graduate
Committee to fill Field Requirement 2 (Restoration to 1800).
The course offers both an extensive and intensive understanding of women writers in England, c. 1550-
1800, whose work will be at all times viewed within a historical, social, biographical, theoretical, and critical context. The course aims to go beyond, while riding upon, earlier waves of women's studies: the initial feminist activism of the 1960s and ’70s that sought a voice for women scholars as well as authors, which led to the establishment of heavily theoretical women's studies programs in the 1980s; the concomitant “recovery” of unknown women authors (most notably through the Brown Women's Writers Project, founded at Brown University in 1986, and dedicated to making available hand-typed transcriptions of women's works published in their own time but not available in any modern edition); the merging of women's studies with gender studies in the 1990s (in an effort to include men as well as women and multiple sexual orientations); the gradual "mainstreaming" of feminist research and theory across the humanities, accompanied by a call for more critical (vs theoretical or biographical) analysis of their work; and the new modes of "recovery" of women writers through both manuscript studies and digital technologies that remake the marginal into the global. As a result of all these movements, early modern women writers are no longer non-existent (a claim made to Professor Fumerton by her Renaissance colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1980s). But some will be far more familiar to the specialist of the earlier periods than others.
Drawing on both old and new discoveries and formats, we seek to open our eyes to a blazing new world of women writers 1550-1800 that is much populated with both familiar and new faces and much open to cutting-edge criticism both written and awaiting writing. Join in the adventure.