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HISTORY 261P: The Pen and the Sword: A Gendered History (COMPLIT 140, FEMGEN 141B, ITALIAN 141)

As weapons, the pen and the sword have been used to wound, punish, and condemn as well as to protect, liberate, and elevate. Historically entangled with ideals of heroism, nobility, and civility, the pen and the sword have been the privileged instruments of men. Yet, throughout history, women have picked up the pen and the sword in defense, despair, and outrage as well as with passion, vision, and inspiration. This course is dedicated to them, and to study of works on love, sex, and power that articulate female experience. In our readings and seminars, we will encounter real and fictive women in their own words and in narrations and depictions by others from classical antiquity to the present, with a special focus on the Renaissance and on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Touching on such topics as flattery and slander through the study of misogynistic, protofeminist, and feminist works in the early modern and modern periods in various European literary traditions, we will con more »
As weapons, the pen and the sword have been used to wound, punish, and condemn as well as to protect, liberate, and elevate. Historically entangled with ideals of heroism, nobility, and civility, the pen and the sword have been the privileged instruments of men. Yet, throughout history, women have picked up the pen and the sword in defense, despair, and outrage as well as with passion, vision, and inspiration. This course is dedicated to them, and to study of works on love, sex, and power that articulate female experience. In our readings and seminars, we will encounter real and fictive women in their own words and in narrations and depictions by others from classical antiquity to the present, with a special focus on the Renaissance and on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Touching on such topics as flattery and slander through the study of misogynistic, protofeminist, and feminist works in the early modern and modern periods in various European literary traditions, we will consider questions of truth and falsehood in fiction and in life. Course materials span a variety genres and media, from poetry, letters, dialogues, public lectures, treatises, short stories, and drama to painting, sculpture, music, and film ¿ works regarded for their aesthetic, intellectual, religious, social, and political value and impact.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
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