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120002 SE Literature Seminar / BA Paper / MA British/Irish/New English (2019S)

Literal or Literary? Aesthetic Challenges in the Representation of Abusive Mothers

11.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work

Details

max. 18 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 07.03. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 14.03. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 21.03. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 28.03. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 04.04. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 11.04. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 02.05. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 09.05. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 16.05. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 23.05. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 06.06. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 13.06. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A
Thursday 27.06. 10:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum 6 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-O1-22.A

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

“We were ‘occasions of sin’ rather than perpetrators; we incited others rather than committed acts ourselves. Could it be that the female sex was intrinsically passive and docile, so nicer?” (Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex, xiii).

In her memoir Why Be Happy If You Could Be Normal? (2011) Jeanette Winterson tells the story of her abusive adoptive mother, a “flamboyant depressive” (1) and evangelical Christian who, routinely would lock her out of the house, forbid reading, burn her favorite books, deprive her of food and beat her up. Her adoptive father is described as a quiet, self-effacing and subservient man who lives in the thrall of his narcissistic and controlling wife. As the history of English literature from Beowulf via Shakespeare up to D.H. Lawrence shows us, mothers have had the underestimated power to mortify not only their daughters but their sons as well – one only needs to think of Hamlet, of Coriolanus, or of Paul in Sons and Lovers, to name but a few. Within hetero-normative discourses of ‘femininity’ and ‘womanhood’, there has not been much space for theorizations of ‘female’ perpetrators or of violent mothers. The aim of this course is to re-open the dialogue between psychoanalysis and gender/queer studies and to investigate representations of what Jacques Lacan in his Seminar XVII has called the ‘crocodile mother’ – a powerful, sadistic and cannibalistic mother capable of doing precisely what Mrs Winterson did to her daughter. The aim is to analyze different forms and different degrees of ‘mortification’ in a range of fictional and autobiographical texts. The course will address the difficulty of theorizing the deployment of hyper-masculine oppression by non-docile women characters, and the urgency to confront this long neglected ‘mortiferous’ legacy in its wider cultural, aesthetic and socio-political implications.

Assessment and permitted materials

Individual presentations,participation in discussions, development of research question and abstract, individual research papers

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Attendance is obligatory. Two absences will be excused (no need to let me know in advance, unless you have taken over a presentation or something similar).

If any of these are not handed in or fulfilled at all, you cannot pass this class.
Max. 100 pts; Pass rate: 60%
Grading scale:
20 Points (Maximum) Weekly Assignments
20 Points (Maximum) Oral Presentation
10 Points (Maximum) Classroom Discussion
50 Points (Maximum) An academic paper between 7000 and 8000 words

The term paper/BA paper will be marked according to the following categories: form; content; methodology; quality of thesis; language; style.
The written work has to be accompanied by a signed and dated anti-plagiarism statement, sent by email as a .pdf file. The written work itself (7000-8000 words for a term paper; 8500-10000 words for a BA thesis) is to be handed in by email as a .doc file.

Grading scale:
1: 100-91p
2: 90-81p
3: 80-71p
4: 70-60p
5: 59-0p

Examination topics

Reading list

Lawrence, D.H.: Sons and Lovers (1913)
Plath, Sylvia: The Bell Jar (1963)
Winterson, Jeanette: Why Be Happy if You Could Be Normal? (2011)
Rhys, Jean: Smile Please (An Unfinished Autobiography; 1979)
Barthes, Roland: Mourning Diary (2009)

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612, MA 844;
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.4-322, BA10.2, MA4,
Lehrinhalt: 12-0449

Last modified: We 03.07.2019 08:27