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IP105 Strong Women in Literature

IP105 Strong Women in Literature

Throughout the western literary tradition, women have at times been presented as strong, self-reliant iconoclasts.  This course will examine how narrative artists have utilized the strong woman protagonist to critique, and to assess the consequences of the disenfranchisement of women in western society.  We will begin with a look at strong women in the works of Emily Bronte, Kate Chopin, and George Eliot and then turn to the Bible, Greek drama, Shakespeare, opera  and  modern drama. Limit of 65.

Instructor: Graham Forst







Jan. 17 - Feb. 28


$85/6 weeks

Halpern Room



Jan. 17

Introduction. The traditional concept of gender, and the role of literature in perpetuating gender stereotypes. Discussion of the work of Kate Chopin, especially “The Story of an Hour,” and the heroines of George Eliot.

Jan. 24

Strong Women in the Bible. Traditional depictions of women in Hebrew patriarchy (Eve, Delilah, Potiphar’s wife, Jezebel, Salome) are contrasted with sympathetic and heroic images of women in the bible. We will be looking at drama and opera videos.

Jan. 31

Strong Women in Greek Drama. The role of women in “democratic” Greece. Background of Greek tragedy, with focus on women as tragic heroines (Medea, Phaedra, Antigone).

Feb. 7

Strong Women in Chaucer and Shakespeare. Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath.” Women’s roles at the time of the English Renaissance. Focus on Kate (Taming of the Shrew), Viola (Twelfth Night) and Portia (Merchant of Venice).

Feb. 14

No class - Room Unavailable

Feb. 21

Strong Women in Opera. The genre of opera requires strong women heroes. Focus on Strauss’ Salome, Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s Tosca.

Feb. 28

Strong Women in Modern Drama. Background of the emerging role of women in late 19th century. The focus will be on Ibsen’s Nora Helmer and Hedda Gabler, and Bernard Shaw’s Eliza Doolittle.

Friday, January 17, 2020, 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM
Halpern Room
3875 Point Grey Road
Vancouver, BC  V6R 1B3

(604) 228-1461
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
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