'English 205--Conrad--F97

English 205: Women's Autobiography and Bildungsromane
4021 Wescoe
T-Th 1-2:20 pm
Fall 1997

Professor Kathryn Conrad
Office: 2035 Wescoe
Office Hours: T-Th 2:30-3:30 and by appointment
E-mail: kconrad@eagle.cc.ukans.edu

Portfolios are available for pickup outside my office door (2035 Wescoe)


In this course, we will examine two popular and powerful literary genres embraced and challenged by women writers over the years: the autobiography and the bildungsroman, or novel of development. We will read and discuss these works with attention to a number of questions: what is the self? what conditions effect the development of the self? what does gender have to do with selfhood and authorship? what is the subject of autobiography? what choices must be made when making a life into a narrative? what is the relationship between authorship and authority? We will also explore questions of voice, authority, genre, and purpose with attention to the writing students will produce for the course; students are encouraged to write at least one autobiographical essay.


Bronte‘, Jane Eyre; Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Frank, Diary of a Young Girl; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit; Cisneros, The House on Mango Street; Kingston, The Woman Warrior; and Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. We may also discuss Madonna's "tell-all," Truth or Dare , as well as other filmic autobiographies.


This is a discussion- as well as a writing-based class. You will be evaluated based on classroom participation (15%), four 3-4 page papers (70%), and a take-home final exam (15%).

I will take attendance. If you are unable to attend class because of illness or emergency, please contact me (a note in my departmental mailbox or, better yet, via e-mail), or send a message via one of your classmates. Sniffles, away-games, or heavy work in other classes do not constitute excusable absences: if you are having schedule difficulties, however, do speak to me before you have to miss class.

You are encouraged to discuss your paper topics and drafts with me well in advance of the final due date: you may revise as many times as you wish, but once you turn in your essay for a grade, the grade cannot be changed. More weight will be given to the papers at the end of the course, however; I am interested in your best work. On Thursday Dec. 4, you will turn in a portfolio with all of your previous papers--including any preliminary drafts with my comments--along with your fourth paper.

Online Writing Help:

SYLLABUS (reading dates subject to change; check here for current schedule):

Th 21: Introduction

T26: Bronte
Th28: Bronte

T2: Bronte
Th4: Bronte

T9: Bronte. Jacobs/Brent
Th11: Jacobs/Brent

T16: Jacobs/Brent
Th18: Jacobs/Brent

T23: Paper #1 due (link to paper topics). Note date change. Frank
Th25: Frank; no office hours

T30: Frank; Woolf
October 2: Rosh Hashana--no class.

T7: Woolf
Th9: Woolf

T14: Woolf
Th16: Paper #2 due. Note date change. Hurston

T21: Hurston
Th23: Hurston

T28: Winterson
Th30: Winterson. Check out Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market" at this site.

November T4: Winterson
Th6: Cisneros

T11: Paper #3 due. Cisneros
Th13: Cisneros

T18: Kingston
W19: 7pm screening of Madonna's *Truth or Dare*
Th20: Kingston

T25: Kingston
Th27: Thanksgiving

T2: Lorde
Th4: Lorde

T9 (Last day of class): Paper #4 due. Lorde. Final exams handed out.
F12: Final exam due, 3 pm, 2035 Wescoe.

T16: Portfolios are available for pickup.

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