English and drama

Sense and Sexuality: Women and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

Module code: Q3097
Level 5
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module explores the representation of women and the construction of female sexuality and feeling in a wide range of 18th-century writing. Addressing fictional and non-fictional writing by both women and men in novels, medical works, advice books for women and erotic literature, the module explores contemporary debates about the place of women in society, (including personal conduct), and the place of sexuality (both socially-sanctioned and otherwise). A central concern will be attitudes to female feeling, from sexual passion to sensibility, and the ways in which feeling of various kinds enables conformity to, or critical interrogation of, a larger social and cultural order. Attention will also be paid to the relationship between bodies and passion, the social disciplining of feeling, and the relationship between emotion and gender. Your focus on literary works will be supplemented with a range of additional sources that will enable you to contextualise the novels and poems and link them into contemporary debates and attitudes.


Module learning outcomes

  • Explain how texts create or enact their meaning.
  • Display an understanding of the ways in which texts a) are transmitted through literary and cultural institutions and b) are translated between different cultures, linguistic systems and periods.
  • Communicate effectively, in critical and/or creative modes, an understanding of the ways in which texts are re-presented creatively through acts of reading, interpretation and performance.