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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Early Modern Women's Writing, c.1550-1700. (ENLI10411)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDespite more than fifty years research devoted to the study of early modern womens writing, it is still often assumed following Virginia Woolf in A Room of One¿s Own (1935) that no Elizabethan woman wrote a word of that extraordinary literature (62) in the Renaissance/seventeenth century. Today, academic libraries contain hundreds of books that prove this not to be the case; however, very few of these women with, perhaps, the exception of Aphra Behn have made it into the literary canon. Back in 1993, Margaret J. M. Ezell, queried the foundations upon which a putative canon of early modern women writers was being constructed. She suggested that the search for Shakespeares Sisters (individual, professional [published] poets and dramatists) prevented researchers from valuing the range of texts produced by early modern women, especially those that were produced collaboratively in manuscript. Following Ezells lead, this course will explore the different kinds of texts that circulated under a female name and encourage students to (re)assess the influence women had upon the concept of the literary in the early modern period.
Course description This course will introduce students to writing attributed to women in the early modern period (c. 1550-1700). While some of these writers can be historically identified, some are otherwise anonymous, and, in some cases, their authorship is contested. Consequently, students will be encouraged to assess the processes by which readers attribute gender to a literary text. The texts included on the course range from poetry to political polemic and students will be expected to evaluate how these writers use genre and literary techniques to achieve their ends. The course will enable students to develop an intersectional feminist-historicist approach to literary study and encourage them to undertake independent research using resources available via MyEd (e.g., Perdita, Early English Books Online, Oxford English Dictionary Online). The course will also pay attention to womens involvement in what might usually be thought of as non-authorial aspects of book production (e.g., translation, patronage) and be alert to womens involvement in colonial expansion. Weekly seminars will be supplemented with Autonomous Learning Groups (ALGs) and students will be encouraged to reflect upon and assess their progress through a weekly Learning Journal (LJ). Students will receive formative feedback on their LJs over the semester and after they have completed a final review entry, the entire journal will be submitted as part of the final assessment (40%). The other assessment element will be the final 3,000-word essay (60%) submitted at the end of the semester.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) OR English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) AND Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)) AND ( Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025) OR Scottish Literature 2A (ENLI08022) AND Scottish Literature 2B (ENLI08023) OR English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) AND Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Primary texts.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. articulate a critical understanding of the range and diversity of early modern women¿s writing.
  2. assess how social and historical forces have shaped the construction of authorship and the literary canon.
  3. critically review methodological approaches to the study of gender and authorship in the early modern period.
  4. tailor their arguments and findings for different audiences both orally (through discussion and presentation) and in written form (learning journal, formal essay).
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge that covers and integrates most of the principal areas, features, boundaries, terminology and conventions of a subject/discipline/sector.

A critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles.

Detailed knowledge and understanding in one or more specialisms, some of which is informed by, or at the forefront of, a subject/discipline/sector.

Knowledge and understanding of the ways in which the subject/discipline/sector is developed, including a range of established techniques of enquiry or research methodologies

Critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse complex/professional problems and issues.

Critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector.

Present or convey, formally and informally, information about specialised topics to informed audiences.

Exercise autonomy and initiative
KeywordsEarly modern women,1550-1700,poetry,prose,feminism,historicism.
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