Profile of <span>Marion Wells</span>
Office
Axinn Center 313
Tel
(802) 443-2443
Email
mwells@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall 2022: Marion: Tues/Thurs 1:30-3pm and by appointment

Marion Wells is a member of the English and American Literatures Department and is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program at Middlebury College.  She has a BA in Classics and Modern Languages from Oxford University and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University. Her areas of special interest are early modern English and Italian Literature, classical literature, gender studies, and the history of medicine. She enjoys teaching a wide range of courses at Middlebury, including introductory courses in English literature, advanced courses in early modern literature, and courses focusing on the intersection of literary and gender studies. In 2007 Stanford University published her book on the relationship between melancholy and romance, entitled The Secret Wound: Love-Melancholy and Early Modern Romance.  She is currently at work on a book on the cultural and literary representations of maternity, tentatively entitled The Nightingale’s Song: Maternal Voices in Early Modern Europe. Professor Wells lives in Weybridge with her husband, John, and their two sons, Theo and Toby.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Senior Thesis
A senior thesis is normally completed over two semesters. During Fall and Winter terms, or Winter and Spring terms, students will write a 35-page (article length) comparative essay, firmly situated in literary analysis. Students are responsible for identifying and arranging to work with their primary language and secondary language readers, and consulting with the program director before completing the CMLT Thesis Declaration form. (Approval required.)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

Reading Women's Writing: Living a Feminist Life from Mary Wollstonecraft to Sara Ahmed
In this course we will investigate the tradition of women's writing in English from the sixteenth century to the present day, focusing on the complex relationships among writing, sexuality, race, and gender. We will consider the ways in which writers identifying as female respond to--and often subvert--traditional literary themes and conventions, looking critically as we do so at our own interpretive assumptions as readers. An organizing focus of our reading will be the articulation and/or suppression of female anger and other related emotions in a variety of repressive contexts. Though our focus will be primarily on the interpretation of literary works, we will also develop an awareness of relevant debates in feminist theory, from Mary Wollstonecraft’s revolutionary contribution to notions of female education to Sara Ahmed’s concept of the feminist “killjoy.” Other texts may include: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park; Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway; Toni Morrison, Sula; Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions; Brittney Cooper, Eloquent Rage; Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties; Kristen Roupenian, You Know You Want This, Rebecca Traister, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. For on campus students, discussions will be held in person outside when possible. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

British Literature and Culture (I) (Pre-1800)
Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Critical Conditions: Gender, Literature, and Illness (Pre-1800)
In this course we will explore the literary representation of illness and pain in a range of texts from the classical period to the present day, focusing in particular on the intersection of illness with questions of gender, race, and sexuality. Beginning with Sophocles’s tragedy Women of Trachis, we will explore the classical representation of acute pain in the context of early Greek medicine, before examining medieval and early modern literary works inspired by the Black Death, including selections from Boccaccio’s Decameron. The second half of the class will focus on modernist and contemporary accounts of illness, including Virginia Woolf’s treatment of both the 1918 influenza epidemic and so-called “shell-shock” in her novel Mrs Dalloway. We will intersperse our literary readings with theoretical explorations of cure, disability, and ableism by writers such as Eli Clare, as well as work from the emerging field of narrative medicine. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Gender, Power, and Politics on the Early Modern Stage (I) (Pre-1800)
In this class we will explore the representation of gendered embodiment on the early modern stage, considering as we do so how theatrical embodiment intersects with other treatments of the body in early modern culture. We will read both early modern and contemporary theoretical accounts of gender as performance, investigating among other issues the use of boy actors, the representation of specifically “female” disorders (e.g., “suffocation” or hysteria), the performance of maternity, and the treatment of same-sex eroticism. Of particular importance will be the representation of the articulate or angry woman as the “shrew” or “scold,” and we will begin the class with an investigation of so-called “shrew-taming” narratives. Primary readings will include: Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale, Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, and Cavendish’s Convent of Pleasure. We will end the semester with a look at how this material plays out in our current political moment, focusing in particular on the representation of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Christine Blasey Ford. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.(Formerly ENAM 0103)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Critical Conditions: Gender, Literature, and Illness (Pre-1800)
In this course we will explore the literary representation of illness and pain in a range of texts from the classical period to the present day, focusing in particular on the intersection of illness with questions of gender, race, and sexuality. Beginning with Sophocles’s tragedy Women of Trachis, we will explore the classical representation of acute pain in the context of early Greek medicine, before examining medieval and early modern literary works inspired by the Black Death, including selections from Boccaccio’s Decameron. The second half of the class will focus on modernist and contemporary accounts of illness, including Virginia Woolf’s treatment of both the 1918 influenza epidemic and so-called “shell-shock” in her novel Mrs Dalloway. We will intersperse our literary readings with theoretical explorations of cure, disability, and ableism by writers such as Eli Clare, as well as work from the emerging field of narrative medicine. 3 hrs. lect.(Formerly ENAM 0242)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required. (Formerly ENAM 0500)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term. (Formerly ENAM 0700)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Virginia Woolf in Context
In this seminar we will focus on the novels, essays, and short stories of Virginia Woolf, considering them in the light of her social, political, and artistic contexts and commitments. We will explore in particular the tension in her work between Victorian values and aesthetics and the progressive goals of the modernist movement. Our readings will take us from the early novels (Voyage Out, Night and Day) to the later experimental works (To the Lighthouse, Orlando, The Waves). Some of the topics central to the seminar will be Woolf’s engagement with modernism and its key figures (such as James Joyce); her treatment of gender and sexuality in her essays and elsewhere; and her struggles with mental illness. We will intersperse our reading of Woolf’s prose with consideration of some film versions of her work, and we will conclude the seminar with a reading of Michael Cunningham’s 1998 creative homage to Mrs. Dalloway: The Hours.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

CW, EUR, LIT

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