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The University of Southampton

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

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.


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. This module includes a Learning Support Hour. This is a flexible weekly contact hour, designed to support and respond to the particular cohort taking the module from year to year. This hour will include (but not be limited to) activities such as language, theory and research skills classes; group work supervisions; assignment preparation and essay writing guidance; assignment consultations; feedback and feed-forward sessions.

Follow-up work6
Wider reading or practice6
Completion of assessment task52
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


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

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