The University of Southampton
Courses

ENGL2092 Women Writers Remixed ca. 1850—1915

Module Overview

From the cut, copy, and paste aesthetic of the musical remix or “mashup” to video montages on YouTube, reuse, reinterpretation, and re-presentation have become familiar features of contemporary art and culture. “Remix studies” has recently emerged as a mode of critical discourse and within the academy and beyond there is a persistent interest in writers who build on—and take from—the work of their predecessors and peers. On this module, we will investigate the relationship between mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth century authors and literary remixing: the practice of sampling themes, character traits, or scenarios from one novel and placing them in another without parodic intent or attribution. We will examine how in novels such as Dorothy Richardson’s Pointed Roofs (1915) the formative experiences of one protagonist (semi-autobiographical Miriam Henderson) uncannily resemble those of another: Charlotte Brontë’s self-styled Lucy Snowe (Villette, 1853). How does a Victorian aesthetic of unoriginality celebrate or exploit the marginalised position of the female author? Why have many of the writers on this module fallen into obscurity while those who reimagine their ideas are still well read?

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Familiarize you with some of the conventions of the Victorian novel and its relationship to subsequent literary movements (modernism). • Encourage you to consider how gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class influence the circulation and reception of literary texts. • Allow you to engage with critical schools of thought including feminist literary criticism, theories of authorship and originality, and debates about cultural capital and curriculum formation. • Enable you to understand the social, economic, and professional concerns facing women writers in the nineteenth- century literary marketplace. • Increase your familiarity with marginalized and non-canonical writers. • Help you draw connections between contemporary concepts of originality in art and authorship and formative events in nineteenth-century literary production.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use an analysis of one text to foster your understanding of another.
  • Practice argumentation by identifying and responding to opposing authorial and critical viewpoints.
  • Explain the relationship between discrete moments in literary history and between literary history and contemporary cultural practice.
  • Strengthen your close reading.
  • Improve your essay writing skills.

Syllabus

The syllabus is structured around pairs of novels and novellas, each of which takes the work of a woman writer as the point of departure. Our examination of the rearrangement of ideas, character types, and story structures in these pairs will enable you to better understand the aesthetic, political, and literary-historical implications of authorial remixing. These sets of texts will also familiarize you with the conventions of literary genres including the Bildungsroman, the realist novel, New Woman fiction, urban literature, and the ghost story. The module will begin with an introductory week on theories of originality and authorship, intellectual property, and canon formation by critics such as Harold Bloom, John Guillory, Robert Macfarlane, and Paul Saint- Amour. Critical essays by feminist scholars including Nina Auerbach, Deborah Epstein Nord, and Talia Schaffer will further illuminate the relationship between gender and literary appropriation. Pairs of novels will be discussed over multiple lectures and seminar sessions enabling you to focus extensively on the close reading and textual analysis of individual works before examining their relationship to one another. Readings on this module will vary from year to year. The following is intended as a representative selection: • Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853) • Dorothy Richardson, Pointed Roofs (1915) • Amy Levy, Romance of a Shop (1889) • George Gissing, The Odd Women (1893) • Lucas Malet, The Gateless Barrier (1900) • Henry James, The Sense of the Past (1917)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • lectures • seminars • private consultation • feedback on written work Learning activities include: • reading texts and engaging with other cultural productions • seminar discussion • textual analysis • writing essays Additional pedagogical features: • Builds continuity with first year module Literary Transformations while fostering knowledge of historical band B. • Addresses the importance of diversity within academic discourse. • First assessed essay allows you to practice close analysis of a single text; this exercise will aid your ability to provide persuasive evidence for the summative 2,500 word essay due at the end of the semester.

TypeHours
Follow-up work12
Completion of assessment task52
Seminar12
Wider reading or practice12
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Lecture12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Robert Macfarlane (2007). Original Copy: Plagiarism and Originality in Nineteenth-Century Literature. 

Paul K Saint-Amour (2003). The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination. 

Talia Schaffer (1996). Some Chapter of Some Other Story: Henry James, Lucas Malet, and the Real Past of The Sense of the Past. The Henry James Review. ,17 , pp. 109-128.

John Guillory (1993). Cultural Capital: the Problem of Literary Canon Formation. 

Harold Bloom (1973). The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. 

Deborah Epstein Nord (1995). Walking the Streets: Women, Representation, and the City. 

Eduardo Navas, Owen Gallagher, and xtine Burrough, Ed. (2015). The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies. 

Nina Auerbach (1978). Communities of Women: An Idea in Fiction. 

Leslie A Fielder and Houston A Baker (1981). English Literature: Opening up the Canon. 

Harold Bloom (1994). The Western Canon: the Books and School of the Ages. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 65%
Essay  (1500 words) 35%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Total costs associated with this module will not exceed £90.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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