English 150

Senior Seminar: Sexuality and Antebellum Women?s Writing

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2007 Beam, Dorri
Beam, Dorri
TTh 11-12:30 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

(subject to change) Fuller, M.: The Essential Margaret Fuller; Freedman and D?Emilio, eds.: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America; Howe, J. W.: The Hermaphrodite; Sweat, M.: Ethel?s Love-Life; Hawthorne, N.: The Blithedale Romance; Stoddard, E.: The Morgesons; Spofford, H.: The Amber Gods and Other Stories; Alcott, L.: Alternative Alcott; Walker, C.: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth-Century; Gaul, T., ed.: To Marry an Indian; Dickinson, A.: What Answer?; Fogarty, R., ed.: Desire and Duty at Oneida: Tirzah Miller?s Intimate Memoir


This course will look at a wide variety of materials and topics with an emphasis on nineteenth-century American women?s literary and political treatments of chastity, autoeroticism, marriage, interracial sex, sexual identity, and ?romantic friendship.? We will examine the role of women in creating, contesting, and sustaining sexual ideologies through literary representation, voice, and style. Along with contemporary theory on the history of sexuality, we?ll look at antebellum hygienic tracts and medical theories of reproduction and sex, sensation literature by women, feminist utopian fiction and the diaries of women in utopian communities, an unpublished novel manuscript with a hermaphrodite narrator, fictional and medical treatments of dreams, and fictional and epistolary treatments of interracial marriage. At times, we?ll look comparatively at treatments of sexuality, women?s rights, and marriage in selected men?s writing, including the textual courtships of Poe with women poets.

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