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Wollstonecraft to Jane Austen: Femininity & Literary Culture - CES00004M

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  • Department: Centre for 18th Century Studies
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This MA module, taught by a team of experts on eighteenth-century literature and culture, introduces students to a range of writing by women from the period 1770-1820. It investigates how Mary Wollstonecraft diagnosed the disadvantages that women and girls lived under at this period, and her plans for ‘a revolution in female manners’. And it analyses how Wollstonecraft, Austen, and their contemporaries represented a range of issues including social class, wealth, marriage, feeling, sexuality, and race, in their fiction, political tracts, travel writings, and poetry.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

  • to introduce students to some of the best writing by British women in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

  • to explore the relation between languages of sentiment and sensibility and the language of political controversy and debate in the period

  • to introduce students to the skills and techniques of interdisciplinary research

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the varieties of women’s writing of the period across a range of styles and genres

  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with some of the difficulties and possibilities for women in interacting with public life in the period

  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields dealing with women’s writing and the representation of women in the period

  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback, given in Week 5 for original assessment, and within two weeks of submission for re-assessed work

Indicative reading

Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Mary Hays, The Memoirs of Emma Courtney

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Anna Laetitia Barbauld, selected writing

Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan, The Wild Irish Girl

Anonymous, The Woman of Colour

Charlotte Smith, selected writing

Jane Austen, Persuasion

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.