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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Gothic, Romance, Autobiography: these are the central topics of mid-twentieth-century fiction by and for women, and yet have often been critically neglected. Looking at a range of women's fiction in this period, including popular and middlebrow titles as well as literary classics, this course looks at what women wrote, what women read, and who deemed these works important. This course especially focuses on the relation between physical space (the home, the village) and psychological space (including representations of mental illness) in order to discuss the space of women's writing.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Tim Baker

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • English (EL)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course traces the evolution of women's fiction over the middle decades of the twentieth century. Ranging from Modernism to Postmodernism, and incorporating significant works of 'middlebrow' and genre fiction, it explores themes of autobiography, regional identity, and interior life. The course raises questions of canon formation and the space of women's writing, looking both at what sort of texts are considered appropriate for academic study, and the interrelation between physical and psychological space. Including both British and American authors, the course concentrates on the genres of Romance, Gothic and Detective Fiction, and the Coming-of-Age Novel. Authors may include Virginia Woolf, Dodie Smith, Shirley Jackson, Iris Murdoch, and Alice Walker.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

  • 2000-word essay (35%)
  • 3000-word essay (45%)
  • Oral presentation (10%)
  • Seminar assessment mark (10%)


  • 3000-word essay (100%)

Formative Assessment

Course journal.


Students will receive prompt oral feedback in seminars, and will receive formal written feedback on essays within three weeks of submission.

Course Learning Outcomes


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