Women and the English Novel: from Burney to Eliot , and from Chopin to Winterson.

Dr. Marijke Rudnik-Smalbraak
Dr. Marijke Rudnik-Smalbraak
Courtesy of M. Kappers-den Hollander

From the early eighties until the end of the last century, this course was offered to ‘doctoraal’ students, on alternate years, by Dr. Marijke Rudnik- Smalbraak or by Drs. Martien Kappers-den Hollander. Martien’s classes focussed on selected eighteenth – and nineteenth century English novels by and about women; Marijke’s on those from the twentieth century, in England as well as in America. Both courses explored the role of literary women: as fictional characters, as writers, and as readers. Martien’s students studied women’s specific contribution to the historical development of the genre as well as issues of cultural feminism and of applied feminist literary criticism. Marijke’s classes offered a detailed analysis and discussion of the primary texts in close relation to (post)-structuralist feminist theory.

By the time both teachers retired in early 2001, some five hundred students had fulfilled class requirements. Many of them had also written ‘doctoraalscripties’ (their graduation theses) on subjects related to the course. One of them, Dr. Renée C. Hoogland, also succesfully defended her dissertation on the works of Elizabeth Bowen. She is now a Professor at Wayne University, USA.

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