Gender, Sexuality and Literature: Spectacles of Punished Women

Popular culture has always enjoyed punishing women, but audience attitude to that punishment depends on our times, our gender and class, and to a degree this course will examine on the genre of the work. We will examine punished women in literature and film of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among the questions we shall consider are the relation between punishment and the work's ideology of justice, the degree to which we are urged to enjoy a woman's punishment or protest against it, turning punishment into an inducement to social change. We shall read works by both women and men, analyzing their possibly different treatments of punishment. Among them are Jane Austen, EMMA; Dickens, OLIVER TWIST, Ellen Wood, EAST LYNNE; and Tennyson, IDYLLS OF THE KING. Films will include BROKEN BLOSSOM, PSYCHO, and FATAL ATTRACTION. Each student will write a midterm and a final exam. There will also be an optional paper focusing on a nineteenth-century novel of your choice beyond the syllabus.

TR 3-4:30


  • ENGL/COML-090

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The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women

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