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Fiche de cours

World War I and Gender in Novels and Poems Then and Now (Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room, Pat Barker's Regeneration, Selection of Poems)

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Valérie Cossy
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2013 -> 2013

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre de printemps
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 4.00


Reading and analysing literary texts within the context of feminist thought and gender studies.


Literary history routinely presents WWI as a watershed after which the bases of rationalist and objective visions are shaken and literature affected by "modernism". Virginia Woolf is exemplary as an author enabling readers to grasp and, even, experience through reading, how this shift concretely happened and what it meant. This seminar will focus, first, on her novel Jacob's Room (1922), which centres on one of these British young men who went voluntarily to war, ignoring what modern war was, and on his mother's questions and sorrow while called to empty and tidy up his "room" after his death. We'll see how an official and general vision of "war" is deconstructed by Woolf through the subjectivity of her characters in terms of gender and generation. Then, we'll read Pat Barker's more recent historical novel Regeneration (1991), in which real and fictional characters interact with each other. We'll see how this novelist who is also a social historian chose fiction to inscribe the history of gender (in particular that of masculinity) within the general history of war and politics. And, because Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon are characters in Barker's novel, but also because WWI poetry has significantly and over a long period of time contributed to impose a public consensus about WWI as trauma, this seminar will also include a selection of poems as part of our discussions.


BA 2005 : Group-discussions in class (collective) and writing an essay (individual)
BA 2013 : Group-discussion in class (collective) and writing an essay (individual) ; possibility of writing an extended essay


Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room

Pat Barker, Regeneration

(Paperbacks have been ordered from Basta)

A selection of WWI poems provided on photocopies in class.

Informations supplémentaires


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
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