Skip to main content

Module

SEL3373 : Women of Virtue and Women of Pleasure: Sensibility in the Age of Reason

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Leanne Stokoe
  • Lecturer: Dr Laura Kirkley
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The aim of this module is to analyse how literary constructions of women of virtue and women of pleasure developed in the course of the long eighteenth century. Students will develop knowledge of a range of canonical and non-canonical texts, including English translations of important French texts from the period. We will focus particularly on the transnational rise of the literature and culture of Sensibility, examining how sentimental discourses were invoked to depict women both as arbiters of moral virtue and creatures of excessive sensuality.

Students will gain a thorough knowledge of the historical and cultural contexts in which literary texts were written, combining this knowledge with some gender and feminist theory to examine cultural shifts in attitudes to female desire and definitions of female virtue. We will connect these historical and cultural changes with formal and generic developments in the literature of the period, paying particular attention to the rise of the novel and of (auto)biographical and autofictional writing. The module will culminate in an analysis of early feminist efforts to politicise the discourse of Sensibility.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus comprises a range of genres, including poetry, novels, moral philosophy and conduct literature. Due to the transnational focus of the module, some of the texts are English translations of eighteenth-century French texts.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials320:3016:004 asynchronous short lectures per week, including revision lectures in Week 8.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion218:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading118:0088:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:008 weeks of 2-hour synchronous seminars focussing on textual analysis and revision.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities121:0012:00Seminar preparation involving answering set questions and posting to the discussion board.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00Drop-in session with seminar tutor and/or the module leader in Week 9.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture materials introduce students to knowledge outcomes relevant to the module. They address themes common to the authors studied and encourage the students to think comparatively. The seminars allow for the development of knowledge outcomes through close reading of specified texts, and the practice of skills, especially oral presentation and interpersonal communication.

Seminars develop this knowledge and enable the practice of skills, namely close textual analysis and interpersonal communications. The independent study hour gives students the chance to develop their research skills and prepare for the seminars in terms that give them genuine ownership over the material. In addition, students will be required to participate in a Canvas discussion board to which they must contribute at least two posts throughout the semester.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A15500 word reflective piece on learning and participation.
Essay2A853,500 word essay.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio2MEssay plan and annotated bibliography for final essay preparation.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In the formative assignment, students will be required to plan an essay that links at least two texts that they have studied on the module. In this plan they will be expected to demonstrate understanding of the shifting attitudes towards femininity throughout the long eighteenth century, and how these are reflected in, or challenged by, their chosen texts.

The formative assignment will:
1. Encourage student engagement with the module themes by reflecting critically upon their learning.
2. Require students to develop research skills as they seek out additional primary and secondary sources to compile their research plan and annotated bibliography.
3. Prepare students for their final essay in a way that allows them to receive constructive feedback and engage with it before beginning the assignment.

The end of module essay (3,500 words) will ask students to write an essay that engages with least two different texts, and responds to one or more given keywords. This assessment will focus students upon detailed aspects of the material in terms that connect their ideas with the module’s broader thematic and conceptual ambitions.

Alongside their final essay, the students will be asked to submit a short, assessed reflection (500 words) on what they have learned so far in the module, how they feel they have participated in its activities, and how they have responded to the formative feedback on their assignment plan.

Reading Lists

Timetable