This course explores the medieval and early modern female writers of England and France. We will ask: how did women respond in writing to the male-defined literary traditions and conventions of these eras? The course also provides an introduction to some of the major questions and works of feminist literary criticism, including: Why should we read the works of women? What aesthetic standards should we apply when discussing their works? Is there a difference between masculine and feminine writing? We will focus on six female writers: Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Carey, Isabella Whitney, Amelia Lanyer, and Mary Sidney.