Against the Odds: how women writers in Britain found their voices

Ref: C3530657

'Intellectual freedom depends upon material things,' said Virginia Woolf in A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN. We shall explore this concept as it applies to women writers across three centuries, asking questions about the gender barriers to success and how these were transcended. We shall read a rich mix of short texts - fiction, poetry and non-fiction by such authors as Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Fanny Trollope, George Eliot, Emmeline Pankhurst, Virginia Woolf and Doris Lessing. They were driven to write and publish by a range of impulses - from the poet Charlotte Smith, who literally wrote her way out of debtors' prison, to Jane Austen who entertained family members with comic stories but, as a 'lady', did not expect publication.

Additional information about this course

NB There is no session on 17th February

Course aim

To explore, through selected literary texts, how women writers have confronted some of the gender stereotypes imposed on them by society in order to express themselves creatively and find some independence, some money and a body of readers.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course comprising a series of six illustrated lectures is for anyone interested in discovering the process whereby women came to make their voices heard, transcending the roles assigned them by society. Students will read and discuss passages from the literary works of selected female writers.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the relationship of the particular women and their writing careers to the social expectations of their times.
  • Appreciate and apply the concept 'intellectual freedom depends upen material things' to the writing lives of the women studied.
  • Evaluate the particular stylistic qualities of each passage studied.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • The Tutor will suggest literary texts for you to read to expand on the literature studied in class.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Against the Odds: how women writers in Britain found their voices

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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