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Rooms of Their Own: Feminist Thought in Literature (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

Thursdays from 16th April 2020 (Code LI300-302) Thursdays from
16th April 2020 2:10pm - 4:00pm • (10 classes)
Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Lena Wanggren
Sorry, this course is cancelled

Course Summary

In this course we shall explore the development of women’s writing and social politics, looking at how feminist thought has been expressed in literature from the 19th century onward. Reading seminal novels by women, we will discuss topics including the 19h century ‘New Woman’, the struggle for artistic recognition that many women writers have faced, and global gender issues.

Course Details

Content of Course

1.  Introduction – A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft.

2. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.

3. Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

4.  New Woman stories [readings supplied].

5.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

7. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

8. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus.

9. Conculsion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Articulate a broad understanding of the history of women’s writing from the 19th century to the present;        

  • Construct, present and evaluate arguments coherently;

  • Articulate knowledge and understanding of the development of feminist literature and theory, and the changing nature of ideological discourse;

  • Identify the social, historical, cultural and political contexts that have shaped women’s writing, and reflect critically on how feminist thought has been expressed through literature;

  • Evaluate texts through close reading, identifying literary techniques and devices using recognized terminology.


Core Readings


  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Purple Hibiscus [2003] (London: Fourth Estate, 2005).

  • Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale [1985] (London: Vintage, 1996).

  • Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre [1847] (London: Wordsworth Classics, 1992).

  • Chopin, Kate. The Awakening [1899] (London: Wordsworth Classics, 2015).

  • Kraus, Chris. I Love Dick (LA: Semiotext(e), 2006).

  • Walker, Alice. The Color Purple [1982] (W&N, 2014).

  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects [1792] (London: Vintage, 2015).

  • Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own [1929] (London: Penguin, 2002).


  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. We Should All Be Feminists (London: Fourth Estate, 2014).

  • Appignanesi, Lisa, Susie Orbach, and Rachel Holmes. Fifty Shades of Feminism (London: Virago, 2013).

  • Bates, Laura. Everyday Sexism (London: Simon & Schuster, 2015).

  • de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (London: Vintage, 1997).

  • Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique (London: Penguin, 2010).

  • Gay, Roxanne. Bad Feminist (Corsair, 2014).

  • Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch (London: Harper Perennial, 2006).

  • hooks, bell. Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (Pluto, 2000).

  • Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea [1966] (London: Penguin, 2000).


10 credit courses have one assessment. Normally, the assessment is a 2000 word essay, worth 100% of the total mark, submitted by week 12. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 40%. There are a small number of exceptions to this model which are identified in the Studying for Credit Guide.

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.