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Emerging Voices : American Women Writers

  • ECTS

    6 crédits

  • Code Apogée


  • Composante(s)

    UFR Langues et Civilisations

  • Période de l'année

    Semestre 3


The time separating the Declaration of Sentiments (1848) from the 19th amendment that granted American women the right of vote (1920) marked a turning point in the history of women in the US. Although a number of women rose to prominence in the male-dominated literary world of the second half of the 19th century, most of them have long been forgotten. The recovery work to which feminist criticism gave an impulse in the 1970s and that is still ongoing today has drawn attention to the pivotal role played by some of these writers in the redefinition of women’s place in American society. This course will initiate a reflection on the way in which these women dealt with such issues as slavery, domesticity, industrialization and the rise of a visual culture in the fast-developing society of their times. Due attention will be paid to the Gothic genre that allowed them to express their most intimate concerns and anxieties under the cover of supernatural fiction, as well as to the regional sketch, a supposedly minor genre that some of them turned into an instrument of resistance to the dominant patriarchal ideology.

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Contrôle des connaissances

Students will be given weekly reading assignments. Each student will give an oral presentation according to a schedule that will be finalized by the end of week 2 (which implies that ALL students who want to sign up for this seminar must do so by that time and be in class to choose the text they want to work on). Active participation in discussion will also be taken into account for the final grade.

Students who benefit from “régime spécial” will take an oral exam on the basis of the written work that will be assigned to them at the beginning of the term. These students must contact Professor Durrans (Stephanie.durrans @ u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr) as soon as possible.

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Informations complémentaires

Ouvert aux étudiant·es en mobilité sous réserve du nombre de places disponibles. 

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Required reading

All the texts on the syllabus will be made available on the Bureau Virtuel in early September once you have joined the group. The selection of texts may vary depending on the number of students enrolled in this course. It is likely to include such authors as Sarah Orne Jewett (“The White Heron”), Harriet Prescott Spofford (“Circumstance”), Rebecca Harding Davis (“Life in the Iron Mills”), Grace King (“The Little Convent Girl”), Kate Chopin (“Désirée’s Baby”), Alice Dunbar-Nelson (“Little Miss Sophie”), Madeline Yale Wynne (“The Little Room”), Mary Wilkins Freeman (“The Lost Child”), Charlotte Perkins Gilman (“The Giant Wisteria”) and Metta Fuller Victor (The Dead Letter).


Recommended reading

  • FETTERLEY Judith and Marjorie PRYSE, Writing Out of Place: Regionalism, Women, and American Literary Culture, Urbana and Chicago, U of Illinois P, 2003.
  • GILBERT Sandra and Susan GUBAR, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1979.
  • SHOWALTER Elaine, A Jury of her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx, New York: Vintage, 2010.
  • WEINSTOCK Jeffrey, Scare Tactics: Supernatural Fiction by American Women, New York: Fordham UP, 2008.
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