Single Author: Woolf

This course will focus on selected novels, essays and biographical works by Virginia Woolf, whose interest in psychology and the nature of consciousness prompted her to experiment with techniques of rendering personal, interpersonal and intrapersonal experience in prose works that still engage and challenge readers. We will read a selection of Woolf’s novels that speak to her main themes: the changing political and social roles of women; the impact of WWI and the ensuing decades on the patriarchally-buttressed but foundering British empire; the plight of the psychically-wounded (as Woolf was by sibling sexual abuse and lifelong bipolar syndrome) in a culture that encouraged stoic endurance; and the struggle to speak for the varieties of love (such as Woolf’s for Vita Sackville-West) in the face of rigid social mores. Finally, we will consider her most compelling fascination: how women might begin to consider themselves artists in the early 20th C. when society still insisted: “women can’t write, women can’t paint.”

Course Requirements

  • Attendance and participation
  • Two 5-page critical essays
  • Small group oral presentations
  • Final 10-page Research Paper
  • Reading quizzes and miscellaneous casual writing assignments

Required Texts (available at Revolution Books, 2626 King Street)

  • Mrs. Dalloway
  • To the Lighthouse
  • Orlando
  • The Waves
  • Course Reader with excerpts from Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Three Guineas, Moments of Being,her five-volume Diary,and selected critical essays from the 2-volume Common Reader