English 208, Women in Literature

CRN24440   3 Credits


  • Rockville campus, HU129 
  • Monday nights, 6:30 – 9:25


ENGL208 satisfies your General Education Humanities Distribution as well as your Cultural Perspectives graduation requirements.

Every year is an important year for women, but this particular year may prove to be crucial.  How is your awareness of the contributions that women have made in society, culture, and literature in particular?  Here are some questions to ponder:

Who was Julian of Norwich and how significant were her “visions”? What did Mary Wollstonecraft mean by “a revolution in female manners, . . . to reform the world”?  What were the ramifications of the fact that “both satires on female vice and celebrations of feminine virtue in the eighteenth century were informed by medieval portraits of a destructive Eve and a redemptive Mary,” as Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar have put it? How did it stand that an essayist such as Richard Steele could claim that all a middle class woman had “to do in this world, is contained within the duties of a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother”?

Was Emily Dickinson’s “perversity of writing verse” truly due to her “eccentricity, reclusiveness, and . . . thwarted romance”? (Gilbert and Gubar).  Why was Virginia Woolf compelled to kill “The Angel in the House,” and why is that something that all women writers must do?  What is Adrienne Rich’s essential gesture in “Diving into the Wreck”?  How well does Gloria Anzaldua’s point that “borderlands . . . are where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle and upper classes touch” still resonate with us?  What does Alice Walker suggest by asserting that, “guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength—in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own”?

These and many other questions will drive the trajectory of our course, your course: ENGL208 with Dr. Dickison, who has taught Women’s Studies as well as Caribbean Women Writers at MC.