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Selected Women Writers Post-1900

ENGL 223/3.0

A survey of women writers from after 1900. The historical and geographical focus of the course may vary from year to year; for details, consult the Department. Focuses on English, American and Canadian women writers of the twentieth century.

Learning Outcomes

While women have a well-established "literature of their own” (Elaine Showalter’s phrase) and no longer need to prove its existence, they continue to defend its value and necessity. The aim of this course is to explain whether and how a distinct female voice, perspective, and style can be discerned in the astonishing wealth and variety of

Anglophone literary traditions and why sexual difference matters in the writing and interpretation of literature. By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. make relevant links between women writers and their historical and cultural contexts without reducing their writing to autobiography; understand the feminine literary tradition chronologically as well as geographically
  2. trace the development of women's writing from the internalization of and resistance to masculine norms to the creation of new forms of female identity that escape the shadow of men
  3. explain why and how women's writing is an act of defamiliarization, shocking us out of our complacency, making the world and self anew, and doing so through the power of linguistic expression
  4. write about women in a complex fashion, attending to race, class, sexuality, and culture, and without turning women into heroes or victims
  5. write well-argued and eloquent essays that demonstrate your unique style and perspective. While learning about the characteristics that make each writer on the course distinct from her companions, you should be able to refine your own sensibility and find new ways of expressing yourself. The writers you read may well serve as models for how you write.
  6. and, if you're lucky, discover thoughts, emotions, perceptions, sensations, facts, dreams and visions you haven't encountered before.


In A Room of One's Own (1929), Virginia Woolf wonders, "Who shall measure the heat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?" This course introduces you to fiction, poetry, and drama by twentieth-century and twenty-first century women writers who have sought both to "measure" and to heal the division between poet's heart and woman's body that Woolf so eloquently describes. First, we will concern ourselves with the global diversity of feminine Anglophone literary traditions across categories of genre, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and geography. Second, we will explore how women writers adapt and alter masculine literary influences to both scandalous and sobering effect. Finally, we will consider how literature by women offers a unique and often dissident perspective on the radical social, economic, psychological, scientific and technological, and cultural transformations of the modern and contemporary world. Throughout the dissemination of this course, pertinent reference will be made to aural, oral, visual, and digital cultural production by women as well as to significant moments of collective struggle.


Winter 2019
Course Dates: 
Jan. 7 - Apr. 5, 2019
Exam Dates: 
Apr. 11-27, 2019


20% - Online Discussion Forum
15% - Assignment 1
30% - Assignment 2
35% - Proctored Final Exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc. during the exam period.


Professor Jessica Moore (

Time Commitment

Please be aware that literary texts should be read at least twice, and, particularly if you are writing assignments on them, 3 or 4 times with care in order to communicate not only what the story or poem or play is about, but how the text tells its story or communicates its perspective, and why its style or diction or point of view alters conventional ways of seeing the world and our place in it. In short, you should not only be able to paraphrase the text, but to use literary vocabulary to describe its most significant features. Reading a text more than once allows you to build on or challenge first and hasty impressions; the correct use of literary terms adds depth, substance, and nuance to your interpretation and shows that you respect the literariness of the text. The amount of time necessary to complete the course successfully will vary from student to student. I recommend, ideally, 15 hours a week, but 10-12 hours a week is reasonable time commitment for most students.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.