Department of English

Erin Yanota

MA in English Literature, UT Austin



Transatlantic modernisms; poetry & poetics; women's writing; religion & literature; classical reception


E 314V • Women, Gender, Lit, Culture

35930 • Fall 2021
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM RLP 0.122
CDWr (also listed as WGS 301)

E 314V  |  6-Women, Gender, Literature, and Culture

Instructor:  Yanota, E

Unique #:  35930

Semester:  Fall 2021

Cross-lists:  WGS 301.27, 46145


Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

Description:  How have women authors activated or deployed myths and mythic traditions, and to what end? Focusing on the twentieth century but drawing on other historical periods as well, this course will begin with receptions of the Greco-Roman tradition.  But we will move beyond that tradition over the course of the semester to discuss how women have conversed with myths from multiple nations and cultures to address issues of feminism, gender identity, sexuality, and race.  We will also consider the ways in which engaging with myth enables innovations in literary form: for example, through the epic or life writing genres.  Our course will begin by developing our skills in close reading, which we will later supplement with critical, historical, and theoretical contexts including reception studies as well as feminist, queer, Black, and Indigenous studies.

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines.  They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities.  Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

This course carries a writing flag.  The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will constitute a major part of the final grade.

Tentative Reading List:  Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928); H.D., Helen in Egypt (1961); Gwendolyn Brooks, In the Mecca (1968); Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977); Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982).

Supplementary works and selections, possibly to include some of the following: Anna Seward, Telemachus fragment (1785-98); Ann Radcliffe, Salisbury Plains: Stonehenge (ca. 1805); Mary Tighe, Psyche (1811); Maria Gowen Brooks, Zophiël, or the Bride of Seven (1829); Muriel Rukeyser, Book of the Dead (1938); P.K. Page, “Cry Ararat” (1966); Stevie Smith, “The Blue from Heaven” (1971?); Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck” (1973); Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy (2007).

Requirements & Grading:  Three essays will make up 75% of the final grade, the first of which must be revised and resubmitted.  Subsequent essays may also be revised and resubmitted by arrangement with the instructor.  The remainder of each student’s grade (25%) will be comprised of brief writing skills exercises and creative assignments, an annotated bibliography, and an oral presentation/discussion leadership assignment.

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