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EN3223 The Girl in the Book

Summer Reading List 2017-18

Course tutor: Dr Charlie Lee-Potter                      

Whole Unit: both terms


The course examines fictional representations of the girl across a range of texts, from George Eliot’s portrait of the rebellious Maggie through to Ali Smith’s intellectually precocious George and Ian McEwan’s remorseful Briony Tallis. As well as enabling an exploration of female development and subjectivity, the texts also engage with a range of questions relating to sexuality and desire, place and belonging, art and creativity, education, rebellion and maternal absence. While some of these texts adopt the traditional form of the Bildungsroman, others seek to adapt or subvert literary conventions. For this reason, a concern with the formal and aesthetic qualities of these fictions will run alongside discussion of conceptual and ideological issues.

There will be a weekly lecture and seminar in both the autumn and spring terms. One essay of 2,000 words should be submitted towards the end of the first term and an extended essay of 6,000 words at the beginning of the summer term. The course concludes with three weeks of lectures, seminars and tutorials devoted to the art of writing long essays.



  • George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, [1860] (Vintage, 2010)
  • Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, [1861] (Penguin, 2004)
  • Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop, [1967] (Virago, 1967)
  • Antonia White, Frost in May, [1933] (Virago, 2006)
  • Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness, [1928] (Virago, 2008)
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, [1960] (Vintage, 2007)
  • Ali Smith, How To Be Both (Hamish Hamilton, 2014)
  • Charlotte Bronte, Villette, [1853] (Penguin, 2004)
  • Willa Cather, My Ántonia, [1918] (London: Virago, 1997)
  • Toni Morrison, Sula, [1973] (Vintage, 2004)
  • Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding, [1946] (Penguin, 2008)
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Childhood Among Ghosts, [1975] (Vintage, 1989)
  • Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, [1985] (Vintage, 2009)
  •  Ian McEwan, Atonement, [2001] (Vintage, 2007)



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