Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Reading in Slow Motion: Virginia Woolf’s Essays

Course # 01:090:294:H2
Index# 06038
M/W 3:50PM-5:10PM
Ann Jurecic

Application required for SPN


In this course, we will focus our attention on two book-length essays by Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas.

Why focus on two short books? Woolf’s essays are works of art and ideas; they are best savored. In addition, we learn to read critically not by reading, but by re-reading. And yet, you could scan university syllabi the world over and you would find few, if any, courses where students are given the time necessary to reread a text that has already been covered. In this seminar, we will be learning about how we read by moving slowly through a text that is rich and challenging.

What else will we read? We will build the rest of the reading list together as we move through Virginia Woolf’s extended essays, following her lead. 

What will you do besides read? This is a course in essayistic thinking. As such, it is a course designed to cultivate curiosity and original, research-based writing. There will be daily, graded, in-class responses to the day’s reading; there will be brief formal submissions along the way, as we make our way through A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas. And there will be a final, research-based essay about a question that emerges during course.

Who should take this course? Anyone who wants to be a better reader. Anyone who wants to learn how to write creatively about the real world. Anyone who wants to acquire the habits of the creative mind. STEM students, students in the social sciences, and students in the humanities all will find much of interest in Woolf’s work.

About Ann Jurecic

Professor Ann Jurecic earned her PhD at Princeton University and has been a member of the Department of English at Rutgers since 2005. Her first book, Illness as Narrative (2012), charts the emergence of personal and literary writing about illness in the twentieth century. She has co-written with Professor Richard Miller a book for writers, Habits of the Creative Mind (2020). She has recently completed a new book manuscript about women, politics, and the essay, Society of Outsiders: Women and the Political Essay, 1960–2000