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Women's Literature

All the author ladies.

Shmoop loves Shakespeare. We really do. We also love Geoffrey Chaucer, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, James Joyce, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens…zzzzzz.

Oh sorry, we fell asleep thinking about a bunch of dudes.

Our point? About 51% of the population is missing when we only study male authors. This course will show you that there's a whole different side to the story. We'll follow female writers from the Middle Ages to the present, and see if and how literature looks different through a lady's eyes.

Course Breakdown

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*Purchasing by unit includes course material only.

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Unit 1. Miss Medieval

This unit will start with Ovid's Heroides and then cruise on over to the Medieval Period, where we'll run into ladies like Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, and Christine de Pizan.

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Unit 2. Renaissance Women

We're covering a big time span in this unit: from the Renaissance to the Restoration. We'll be looking at wide variety of writers, including Mary Sidney Herbert, Aemilia Lanyer, Veronica Franco, Queen Elizabeth I, Aphra Behn, and Mary Rowlandson.

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Unit 3. Women Who Rocked the World

In this unit, we'll be looking at these three women who rocked their worlds, through Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious, and Morals, Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

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Unit 4. A Novel Idea

Time to hit up the Victorians and the Romantics with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

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Unit 5. Freedom for All

The women of this unit—Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman—offer all sorts of answers to the question: what does it mean to be free?

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Unit 6. Hear Us Roar

This unit will tackle The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.

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Unit 7. Browning, Dickinson, and Cather, Oh My

You guessed it. In this unit, we've got Willa Cather, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Emily Dickinson.

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Unit 8. It's Complicated

We're square in the 20th century, and with it comes some names you might recognize: Zora Neale Hurston, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Maya Angelou.

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Unit 9. Women's Lit After Women's Lib

In this unit, we'll be looking at some more contemporary female writers—including Toni Morrison, Adrienne Rich, Margaret Atwood, and Tina Fey—and seeing what they have to say about life as a lady.


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  • Course Length: 18 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10
  • Course Type: Elective
  • Category:
    • English
    • Literature

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