ENG 4200/6200: Studies in British Literature (cross-listed with WGS 4000/6000)
Subversive Bodies: Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson
In this course, we will examine texts by contemporary British authors Angela Carter (1940-1992) and Jeanette Winterson (1959- ), focusing on how their works explore bodies as they are constructed by knowledge, power, and discourse. Their textual subversions emphasize the imaginative power of transgressive desires and the use of feminist utopias and dystopias as literary strategies and spaces that work toward refiguring the body. Often privileging grotesque or carnivalesque bodies, they attempt to reshape feminist politics and theories that challenge patriarchal, heteronormative, and other oppressive discourses. Through intertextual practices, their fiction engages with and challenges the literary canon’s representations of gender and sexuality, and their revisionary approaches toward classical myth, fairy tale, folklore, as well as their rewriting of Shakespearean texts, contribute to our understanding and rethinking of literary pasts, presents, and futures. We will also read Virginia Woolf’s Orlando as an influential modernist novel that informs Carter’s and Winterson’s postmodern sensibilities, their explorations of narrative time and space, and their representations of subversive bodies as vehicles for writing subversive texts.