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Odd, Single, and New:

“The Woman Question” and Nineteenth-Century American Literature

What roles have women and the female imaginary played in U.S. cultural formation? What kinds of formal and generic literary experimentations took place as the nineteenth-century progressed? How have authors used fiction to think through the capacities and limitations of women’s lives?

The residents of nineteenth-century America witnessed rapid changes in the literary, social, and cultural fabric of their nation. One such development was the emergence of the bicycle-riding, bloomer-wearing, cigarette-smoking New Woman!

Examining women’s place in U.S. letters, culture, and politics from 1850-1910 in American literature, this course explores fiction in various literary styles and genres – sentimental, slave narrative, realist, magazine fiction, to name a few. It covers a broad range of themes understood through the lens of gender, such as: slavery, poverty, class struggle, race, sexuality, labor, religion, citizenship, marriage, body image, and health.

Requirements: writing projects, weekly quizzes, midterm and final, field trip to the Zimmerli Art Museum!

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