Ready to get Your Hands Dusty? [Article]

Women and Literature topics course gets undergraduates reading and discovering women writers of World War I.

Following in the wake of the 100 year anniversary since the United States of America entered World War I, Hamline is set to offer the topic course Women and Literature on the overlooked female writers of the time period.

It’s been taught before, but is only offered intermittently, according to professor David Hudson who’s both excited to teach the course and passionate about the topic.

“I only get to do it every three or four years,” he said.

Originally, in the wake of the First World War, the study of its history and literature was heavily male-dominated, and more specifically, combatant-dominated. The stories of actual trench survival and up close warfare overwhelmed readings of the period in the past, but more recently in the past 30 years or so, a new wave of attention has fallen onto the time again this time looking for the women writers who’d been overlooked or underappreciated.

Hudson, on the time period, emphasized the uniqueness of the generation for women specifically.

In the time of the war, women rose into new public roles that hadn’t been open to them previously.

“Women [were] both subjects and objects of organized propaganda,” he said.

Experiencing a war and a new movement of a population of women meant a lot was going on for the women of the time period, and they weren’t silent on those experiences.

“[They] wrote in all kinds of ways: poetry, memoir, fiction… about the war as it was going on, and then, afterwards.”

Yet with so much writing done, very little of it is well-known or widely studied; that’s what this course sets to flip around.

Students of the course will look at writers such as Vera Brittain, Edith Wharton, and Rebecca West who are the most recognized names from the list, but also lesser known authors who fell out of print or were simply lost to time.

But beyond reading, students will perform their own research into what other women slipped between the cracks in the move from traditional forms to our digital world. Taking to Bush Memorial Library and more analog forms of research, students will search old magazines and reader’s guides to find publications by women of the time who have been overlooked.

Then, they’ll dive into the writer behind each piece to try and find out the background of the lost writer and potentially stumbling onto a love of research themselves.

It’s a course for history buffs whether you’ve discovered this about yourself yet or not, feminists interested in paying attention to overlooked women of history, and avid readers who want to expand their wider basin for literature.

The course offers the Hamline Plan requirements for Diversity (D) and Writing Intensive (W) and is a 3000-level literature course for English majors.

The class is set for Monday night’s 6:00 – 9:00 p.m in the Robbins Science Center room 12. It’s required that a registering student have taken ENG 3010 (now 1900), WSTD 1010, or GLOB 1910 to register for this course.

Find the course’s full information here.


This article was written by staff, Franki Hanke. 

Franki Hanke, or Francheska Crawford Hanke, for long, is a student administrative assistant with the Hamline University English Department, and she’s in charge of the running of Hamline Lit Link. As a staff writer for the blog, she loves the opportunity it gives her to interact with different perspectives and learn more about the realm of English. Her essays “Why I Write” and “I Couldn’t Say No” were published in Wise Ink publishing’s anthology Why We Ink in 2015. Her poetry has been published on The Drabble (2017) and Oakwood Literary Magazine (2017).

She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Professional Rhetoric Focus at Hamline University and plans to graduate in 2019. Along with managing the blog, she runs the social media outreach and accounts for the department. Outside of the English Department, she writes for The Oracle newspaper and Odyssey Online.

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