Welcome to English 201! I’m very excited to be teaching this class and to be teaching in the GPS program. The Tusculum Student Catalogue describes this course as “an exploration of women’s issues, concerns, and voices in literature about and by women, situated in a larger historical context. Emphases will include male and female responses to changing cultural patterns.” More specifically, I decided that we would approach the idea of a body of literature written by/about/for women through the familiar medium of fairy tales. Most of us grew up on fairy tales—often the Disney versions, but for many of us, also those of the Grimm Brothers and H. C. Andersen. And because these were some of the earliest stories many of us heard or read, they took part in shaping the way we read, the way we write, the way we think. They helped to shape our ideas of gender roles, of beauty, of heroinism, of strength, of right, and so on. I thought it would be suitable, then, to approach the idea of “women’s literature” through the lens of a literature that has had such a profound impact on women. Over the course of the next six weeks, therefore, we will explore some popular fairy tales and also the way in which contemporary women writers critique, use, and revise those tales to reflect the concerns of contemporary women.
Along the side of your screen, you will find links to the syllabus, to the readings that you will be asked to do that are not in your textbooks, and to the Sakai sites where individual groups will meet to do their weekly group projects. If you have any questions or difficulties, please email me and I will do my best to help you. Enjoy!