Summer 2023 Course Details: Sex and Sensibility: The Rise of Chick Lit from Jane Austen to Bridget Jones
In the last quarter century, the popular fiction “chick lit” has assumed Olympian proportions, infiltrating into the mystery, paranormal, and young adult genres as well as the subsets mommy lit and hen lit (the latter, however unfortunately named, aimed at the over-forty reader). With Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary as master plots, the genre has figured prominently in the culture wars since the late 1990s: the anthologies This Is Not Chick Lit and its rejoinder, This Is Chick Lit, for example, defend competing agendas for the function of the woman writer and the purposes of fiction. This course offers a sustained examination of this postmodern subgenre and shows how these period pieces provide an ethnographic report on sex, dating, and desire, and changes in feminism. It seeks to understand the social conditions that gave rise to chick lit, a new incarnation of the courtship novel, and to explain its continued popularity and permeation into virtually every genre—from nonfictions mega sellers like Eat, Pray, Love to Legally Blonde: The Musical. Through various formats—online chats, a course blog, diverse types of essays, and creative writing—we will work to decode the ways in which this type of qualitative sociology negotiates romantic and economic concerns, ones dramatized in the literary antecedents of Jane Austen and Edith Wharton.
This course satisfies a Post-1800 Literature requirement for English Department majors.
This course may be counted towards Women's & Gender Studies major or minor requirements.
This course satisfies HUMA: DISC.
In Summer 2023 this course is NOT Writing Intensive.