21L.701 | Spring 2001 | Undergraduate

Literary Interpretation: Virginia Woolf's Shakespeare


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Complete Syllabus Handout (PDF)


This seminar will rely on lively interchange; therefore attendance and full participation are required. This means having read the novels, plays, and critical selections carefully and on time, having some specific responses to them that you can share, and being sufficiently alert to join in an animated conversation. I will ask you to give a brief (five-minute) report on a literary text pertinent to Woolf’s work. You will also report on one of the critical essays, summarizing the argument and evaluating its applicability to the literary work we are studying. After I lead the discussion of Mrs. Dalloway, you will help lead the discussion of one of the remaining novels; this will include preparing a list of questions to be handed out to each member of the class.

A variety of written assignments will allow you to respond to our topic in different ways. Four short (2-pp.) response essays allow you to focus on a specific aspect of the works under discussion in a thoughtful way. Because they are designed to prompt substantial conversation in class, their effectiveness diminishes if they are not ready before we talk. Therefore, except in very special circumstances (arranged with me), response papers will not be accepted after the assigned date. A 5-page essay will provide an opportunity for you to focus in greater depth upon a particular text and Woolf’s representation of it in A Room of One’s Own. A longer essay (15 pages) will allow you to reflect upon a topic of particular interest to you during the semester. All written work should be typed and double-spaced, with standard margins.

I will consider each of the requirements in determining your grade. If you cannot be in class or meet a deadline because of an emergency, please speak with me (in advance, if possible); otherwise, absences and late papers will adversely affect your grade.

Approximate Grading

Activities Percentages
Class participation 25%
Two reports on an outside text and a critical essay 20%
Class leadership, with handout (list of discussion questions) 10%
Four response papers 10%
Five-page essay 10%
Longer essay (15 pages) 25%

I reserve the right to alter the weighting somewhat in exceptional circumstances; usually this works to your advantage. If written work is incomplete or attendance is infrequent, you will not pass the course.

In addition to welcoming your participation in class, I encourage you to discuss your ideas and your writing with me during office hours, or at other times convenient for us both.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2001
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments