Against the Odds: from Shakespeare’s sister to Virginia Woolf

Based on literary texts, this is an exploration of how women writers confronted gender stereotypes, found their voices and found publishers and readers. [Part One]

Virginia Woolf said that ‘Intellectual freedom depends upon material things.’ In Day One of Two,* we shall explore this concept as it applies to women writers in Britain from the 17th to the early 19th century. Using a mix of literary texts we shall focus on the outspoken feminism of Mary Wollstonecraft and the more subtle female perspectives of Jane Austen in Persuasion and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in Frankenstein, asking questions about the gender barriers to success and to what extent these were transcended.

The tutor would like students to read, in advance, the first two chapters of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own – any copy will do, including online. You are welcome to read the whole book if inclined….

*to follow in a future programme


Course Details

This course finished on 13 June 2020