English 346: The Woman Question: Early Feminism and Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Petrino                                                    Spring Semester -- 2003
Office: DMH 109                                                                            Office Hours: 1-2 TF, 2-3 W and by appointment
Office Phone: -3014

Required Texts:

1. Nineteenth-Century American Women Poets: An Anthology, ed. Bennett (Blackwell) (xerox available)
2. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Johnson (Little, Brown)
3. Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Norton)
4. Fern, Ruth Hall (Penguin)
5. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (Norton)
6. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Harvard)
7. Chopin, The Awakening (Norton)
8. Wharton, Gilman, Chopin, and Jewett, Four Stories by American Women, ed. Wolff (Penguin)

Course Description and Objectives:
    In an era of political and social ferment, women writers and early feminists in America were politically active and popular authors.  They expressed their points of view about a wide variety of issues--abolition, Indian activism, women's rights, suffrage, Western expansionism, temperance, environmentalism, and others.  At the same time, they were beginning to question the definition of womanhood, both philosophically and politically.  These writers, among them Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Fanny Fern, wrote literary works that both challenge and conform to traditional notions of womanhood, prompting the social historian Mary Kelley to call them "domestic feminists."  This course explores the rise of the feminist movement in America through the literature by and about women from about 1850-1900.

   1. Reading quizzes (20% of grade).  Factual, non-interpretive questions are designed to check whether you are keeping up with reading. Six quizzes will be given, but only five grades recorded.  I will drop the lowest grade.
    2. Two interpretative essays (40%).  Based on an oral report, these papers should discuss one literary work in light of class discussion or perhaps a critical article.  Once or twice a term, each student will prepare a short (1-2 pp.) essay, to be distributed and discussed in class.  These drafts will, with my comments and class discussion, provide the basis for the essay (3-5 pp.)
    3. A mid-term test (10% ). The tests will be non-cumulative, essay questions.  The essay topics will be drawn from study questions presented to students for each unit (and from questions student themselves raise in class).
    4. Final examination (30%).  The examination will be a comprehensive test that covers all the material of the course.  Students will be encouraged to make assessments about how they have developed as readers and about the period and issues raised about a variety of writers in the course.

TF  9:30-10:45                                                                                                             CNS  303

Jan  14     Introduction: What is the Woman Question? Literary Domestics and American Literature

       17      Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850), Chaps. 1-9 (35-89)

        21     Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chaps. 10-18 (89-140)

        24     Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chaps. 19-24 (140-178)

        28     Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845) (7-65)

        31     Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (65-108)

Feb   4     The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (selected poems)

         7   The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

        11   The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

        14    Nineteenth-Century Female Poets: Osgood, Jackson, Alice and Phoebe Cary, Sigourney, and Lazarus

        18    Nineteenth-Century Female Poets: Harper, Lazarus, Reese, and Guiney

        21   Video - Discussion of suffragists: “Declaration of Sentiments”

        25    Fern, Ruth Hall  (1855), Chaps. 1-26 (1-60)

        28    Mid-term Test

Mar   4     Fern, Ruth Hall, Chaps. 27-49 (61-123)

          7    Fern, Ruth Hall, Chaps. 50-70  (124-192)


        18    Fern, Ruth Hall, Chaps. 71-90 (193-272)

        21    Davis, Life in the Iron Mills (1861); begin (10-39)

        25    Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; finish (40-65)

        28    Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), Chaps. 1-11 (1-63)

Apr   1     Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Chaps. 12-26 (63-136)

         4     Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Chaps. 27-51 (137-201)

         8     Chopin, The Awakening, Chaps. 1-17 (3-47)

         11    Chopin, The Awakening, Chaps. 17-32 (47-90)

         15    Chopin, The Awakening, Chaps. 33-39 (90-109)


         22    Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (begin)

        25     Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (finish); Conclusion