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Course No: 350:576
Index # - 18381
Distribution Requirement: A4, C, D
Monday – 9:50 a.m.
MU 207

Nineteenth Century American Women Writers:  Gender, Sexuality, and the Literary Marketplace

Meredith McGill

Women entered the literary marketplace in great numbers in the nineteenth-century U.S., but the field of possibilities and the constraints on their participation differed by genre: women travel writers and poets could take cover in (and advantage of) their genres’ elite status and clear didactic purposes; women editors, magazine, and gift book writers leveraged anonymity, pseudonymy, and the presumptively minor status of short fiction; antislavery writers were both buttressed and limited by the rhetorical norms of the movement and the resonant, asymmetrical analogy between women and slaves; women novelists exploited (and had to adjust to) the runaway success of popular fiction aimed at women readers; and women orators and playwrights had to cope with ongoing proscriptions on women’s public speech and the age-old association of theatrical performance with sexual promiscuity. In this course we will survey a broad range of writing by American women between 1820 and 1900 with an eye to women writers’ reflections on and attempts to transform the terms of their admission to the public sphere

Authors will include: Lydia Sigourney, Jarena Lee, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Margaret Fuller, Lydia Maria Child, Angelina and Sarah Moore Grimké, Sara Josepha Hale, Anna Cora Mowatt, Adah Isaacs Menken, Fanny Fern, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, Rebecca Harding Davis, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, Emily Dickinson, Sarah Piatt, Pauline Hopkins, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Sarah Orne Jewett.

Several short writing assignments and two mid-length papers.

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