WGSS 328 Fall 2014 Narrating Other Minds: Austen, Eliot, Woolf

Cross Listed as ENGL328
At roughly fifty-year intervals, Britain produced three brilliant female novelists-- Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf-- who would each become renowned, in her own way, for her ability to combine minutely detailed social observation with a rich depiction of the inner lives of her characters. This course will examine some of their major fiction-- with an emphasis on Austen and Eliot-- in the context of recent critical debate about the nature and implications of their narrative methods for representing the consciousnesses of characters, and of the authorial narrative voices that mediate among them. Questions to be considered: how is our understanding of novelistic characters and consciousness shaped by our real-life experience in interpreting the thoughts and character of others, and vice versa? Do "omniscient" narrators lay claim to a privileged kind of knowing presumed to be unavailable either to their character or to readers, or are they modelling humanly available interpretive stances toward a world of others? Why does "free indirect discourse"-- which blurs the distinction between the consciousness of narrator and character-- feature so prominently in the work of all three? Possible texts include Austen's Emma and Persuasion, Eliot''s Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, and The Lifted Veil, and Woolf's The Waves.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: three 5- to 8-page essay and several shorter assignments
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Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
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Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses,ENGL Literary Histories B
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1538
WGSS 328 - 01 (F) SEM Austen, Eliot, Woolf Division 2: Social Studies Alison A. Case
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Pareksy 220 1538
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