Against the Odds: How Women Writers Found their Voices


Day course

Jane Crozier

14 September 2020


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This course is for anyone interested in discovering the process whereby women came to make their voices heard, transcending the roles assigned them by society. Students must be prepared to read and discuss literary texts during the Study Day.

‘Intellectual freedom depends upon material things,’ said Virginia Woolf. We shall explore this concept as it applies to women writers in Britain, asking questions about gender barriers to success and how these were transcended. Beginning with Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, we shall look back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, reading a rich mix of short texts – fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Authors will range from the poet Charlotte Smith, who literally wrote her way out of debtors’ prison, to Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Sara Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and, of course, Virginia Woolf.

Tutor information

Jane Crozier holds several degrees in English and American Literature. She spent much of her career teaching adults in Further Education, also working as a visiting Tutor at the Institute of Education and as a Research Fellow at Queen Mary University London. When she moved to Somerset nine years ago, she had the time to create courses for adults that follow her particular interests, the literature of landscape and the literature of gardens. After taking a few practical horticulture qualifications she was able to combine elements of horticultural practice with knowledge of British garden history and so draw on a range of enthusiasms in her teaching.