ENG 455: Virginia Woolf (Fall 2017)

Course Information

Course Code: ENG455H1-F LEC0201
Class Time: Thursdays, 3–5pm
Class Location: UC 44

Instructor: Prof. Adam Hammond
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am–noon
Office Hours Location: JHB 624
Email: adam.hammond@utoronto.ca

Course Overview

This course provides an overview of Virginia Woolf’s tremendously varied body of work (as novelist, short story writer, essayist, polemicist, and publisher) as well as an introduction to advanced research in the humanities. In exploring Woolf’s writing, we will consider the social and political motivations of her famously experimental prose; dwell on her notion that creative expression and material conditions are inextricably linked; and explore the extent to which her practice of self-publishing through the Hogarth Press impacted her artistic output. In short, we will explore the idea that Woolf’s Hogarth Press served as a laboratory that allowed her to test and put into practice her idea that new forms of artistic expression could change the way people think and act in the public sphere.

In this course you will:

  • Recognize the forms and contexts in which Virginia Woolf wrote
  • Assess the impact of her artistic and polemical works on the culture of Britain in the early twentieth century
  • Examine the relationship between artistic expression, social change, and material conditions in Woolf’s time and our own
  • Review and interpret scholarly research on Woolf
  • Write a major research essay, two short assignments, and one seminar writeup
  • Participate in seminar discussion and lead one discussion

Course Materials

The following required texts by Virginia Woolf are available from the University of Toronto Bookstore

  • Mrs. Dalloway (Oxford; ISBN 978-0199536009)
  • Jacob’s Room (Penguin; ISBN 978-0140185706)
  • A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141184609)
  • The Years (Penguin; ISBN 978-0141185323)

Additional readings will be posted on Blackboard.

Course Schedule

Date Readings Assignment
September 7 Introduction: “How Should One Read a Book?” and “Kew Gardens” (one an essay, one a story, both short, both on Blackboard)
September 14 Mrs. Dalloway, pages 1-55
September 21 Mrs. Dalloway, pages 55–128
September 28 Mrs. Dalloway, page 128–end Short Assignment #1 due
October 5 A Room of One’s Own, chapters 1–3
October 12 A Room of One’s Own, chapter 4–end Short Assignment #2 due
October 19 Jacob’s Room, chapters 1–7
October 26 Jacob’s Room, chapter 8–end

Note! This class will take place in Room 306 in the E. J. Pratt Library.

November 2 Three Guineas, chapters 1 & 2
November 9 No Class (Fall Reading Week)
November 16 Three Guineas, chapter 3

The Years, up to and including “1907”

Essay Outline and Annotated Bibliography due
November 23 The Years, up to and including “1914”
November 30 The Years, to the end Research Essay due

Marking Scheme

Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Two Short Assignments (15%)
  • Seminar Presentation and Writeup (25%)
  • Essay Outline and Annotated Bibliography (15%)
  • Research Essay (35%)
  • Participation (10%)

Late policy

All late assignments will be reduced 3% per day, including weekends. Assignments will not be accepted more than one week after the due date. All assignments are due in class. For information on submitting late work outside of class hours, see this page.


Active participation in this seminar is necessary. Students are expected to contribute regularly and constructively to seminar discussion, at a minimum rate of one in-class comment per session. If you find that you are falling below this rate, or if you are simply more comfortable expressing yourself in writing, you may make your contributions to the class’s weekly Blackboard discussion threads (individual posts should be approximately 250 words in length, and may be on any topic related to that week’s assigned reading; they are due at the end of each week on Sunday at midnight).


Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Accessibility Services at (416) 978 8060; accessibility.utoronto.ca.


The University of Toronto treats cases of academic misconduct very seriously. Academic integrity is a fundamental value of learning and scholarship at the UofT. Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in this academic community ensures that your UofT degree is valued and respected as a true signifier of your individual academic achievement.

The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters outlines the behaviours that constitute academic misconduct, the processes for addressing academic offences, and the penalties that may be imposed. You are expected to be familiar with the contents of this document. Potential offences include, but are not limited to the following.

In papers and assignments:

  • Using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate acknowledgement
  • Submitting your own work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor
  • Making up sources or facts. Obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment (this includes working in groups on assignments that are supposed to be individual work)

On tests and exams:

  • Using or possessing any unauthorized aid, including a cell phone
  • Looking at someone else’s answers
  • Letting someone else look at your answers
  • Misrepresenting your identity
  • Submitting an altered test for re-grading


  • Falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including (but not limited to) doctor’s notes
  • Falsifying institutional documents or grades

All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following the procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in this course, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about appropriate research and citation methods, you are expected to seek out additional information from me or other available campus resources like the College Writing Centres, the Academic Success Centre, or the U of T Writing Website.

Communication Policy

My preferred method of contact is via e-mail. I will respond to e-mails within 24 hours, though I generally will not respond to e-mails sent on weekends until the following Monday.

Additional Notes

This syllabus is subject to change. Because of this, you are encouraged to consult this web page throughout the year, rather than printing it off.
Your remaining in this class constitutes acceptance of the conditions outlined in this syllabus.
Please be aware that we will discuss sensitive issues in the course, related to topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and politics.