Module Identifier EN36820  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Helena Grice  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours Seminarau. 10 x 2 hour workshop seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Asesiad Parhaus: 2 x 2,500 word essays100%
Supplementary Assessment Resumbit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:
demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a variety of autobiographical modes of writing which has been produced by women in the United States since WWII
demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current theories of women's life writing
demonstrate an ability to think critically about issues of genre and form, with specific relation to gender
demonstrate an ability express themselves clearly in writing and in speech

Brief description

This module explores the idea of writing women's lives from the perspective of a range of forms of post-war life writing by women, including auto/biography, memoir and diary, as well as less obviously autobiographical forms of self-inscription such as criticism and fiction. It will consider and compare the different ways in which the female self has been constructed in these texts, with reference to psychological, cultural and material pressures. Constructions of the self will be related to structures of narrative, and the module explores how a range of post war American women writers have adopted, adapted or abandoned traditional narrative patterns such as the bildungsroman or romance. It will also discuss and apply current theories of women's auto/biography, and look at the importance of the autobiographical mode in feminist criticism.


- to introduce students to the variety of autobiographical modes of writing which has been produce by women in the United states since World War II
- to familiarise students with current theoriesof women's life writing
- to encourage students to think critically about issues of genre and form, with specific relation to gender
- to widen students' knowledge of post-war women's writing in the United States

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Maya Angelou (1969) I know Why the Caged Bird Sings Virago
Gloria Anzaldua (1987) Borderlands/La Frontera Aunt Lute
Maxine Hong Kingston (1977) The Woman Warrior Picador
Audre Lorde (1982) The Cancer Journals Spinsters Ink
Audre Lorde (1982) Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Pandora
Sylvia Plath (1965) The Bell Jar/Ariel Faber
Rachel Blau du Plessis (1984) 'For the Etruscans' photocopy
Anthony Summers (2000) Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe Orion
Jane Tompkins (1987) 'Me and My Shadow' photocopy
** Recommended Background
Alexander, Paul (1991) Rough Magic
Anderson, Linda (1997) Women's Autobiography in the Twentieth Century: Remembered Futures
Benstock, Shari (1988) The Private Self: the Theory and Practice of Women's Autobiographical Writings
Brodzki, Bella and Celeste Schenck, eds (1988) Life/Lines: Theorizing Women's Autobiography
Bruss, Elizabeth (1976) Autobiographical Acts: The Changing Situation of a Literary Genre
Gilmore, Leigh (1994) Autobiographics: A Feminist Theory of Self-Representation
Guiles, Fred Lawrence (1992) Legend: The Life and Death of MArilyn Monroe
Heilbrun, Carolyn (1988) Writing a Woman's Life
Lionnet, Francoise (1989) Autobiographical Voices: Race, Gender, Self-Portraiture
Lionnet, Francoise (1995) Postcolonial Representations: Women, Literature, Identity
Malcolm, Janet (1995) The Silent Woman
Marcus, Laura (1989) Auto/Biographical Discourses
Rose, Jacqueline (1991) The Haunting of Sylvia Plath
Spoto, Donald (2001) Marilyn: The Biography
Stanley, Liz (1992) The Auto/Biographical I
Stevenson, Anne (1989) Bitter Fame
Wong, Sau-Ling (1992) Reading Asian-American Literature: From Necessity to Extravagance

hooks, bell, 'Writing Autobiography', in (1989) Feminisms Warhol and Price Herndy eds

** Recommended Text


This module is at CQFW Level 6