You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife

1. Little Red-Cap

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we introduce the collection as a whole before looking in detail at its first poem, ‘Little Red-Cap’. In particular, we focus on: (i) the key preoccupations of The World’s Wife, especially its interest in giving a voice to the wives and mothers of famous men; (ii) the extent to which ‘Little Red-Cap’ should be read as an autobiographical poem; (iii) the different kinds of masculinity represented by the wolf; (iv) the literary heritage of the ‘deep, dark woods’, which can be a place of danger or a place of liberation; (v) Duffy’s combination of high poetry (“Lesson one that night … was the love poem”) with the mundane (“How nice, breakfast in bed, he said”); (vi) the triumph of the female over the female; and (vii) the ending of the poem.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1999 collection, 'The World's Wife'. After a brief introduction to the collection as a whole, the course continue with a read-through and analysis of each of the thirty poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2020, April 28). Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife - Little Red-Cap [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife – Little Red-Cap." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Apr 2020,

Get instant access to over 7,200 lectures