ENGL 242 D: Reading Prose Fiction

20th Century American Women Writers

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 12:30pm - 1:20pm
SIG 227

Additional Details:

English 242 D: 20th Century American Women Writers
Instructor: Rachel Graf
Website: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/965004

The choice to organize works of literature by the gender of their author - be it in the form of an anthology, a university course, or a Wikipedia page* - is rightly a controversial one. Despite the goal of bringing attention to writers who might otherwise be excluded solely on the basis of their gender, "women writers" collections risk essentializing certain themes, characters and narrative structures as feminine.

In this course we will unpack our assumptions of women's literature. We will explore issues of audience, subjectivity and representativeness. You'll notice that the titles of each of the course novels suggest the traditionally feminine sphere of homes and family. This will be our starting point: what is the domain of American women in the past century? Can women writers gain equal recognition to their male counterparts with or without invoking gender?

Course texts:
Edith Wharton - House of Mirth
Willa Cather - The Professor's House
Marilynne Robinson - Housekeeping
Octavia Butler - Kindred
Additional Readings via coursepacket


Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:20am