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ENGLISH 171: American Daughters

The American novel is often characterized as a tradition focused on the relationships of men to other men, from the all-male cast of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick to the all-male cast of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and beyond. This is partly the case because the American novelistic canon has supplied some of the greatest examples of adventure novels or road novels, in which female characters were relegated to minor positions, if any, in the novels' plots. We might consider too that the American novel has from its beginnings been self-consciously "democratic," with an emphasis on father-son relationships and the revolutionary overthrow of authority, or fraternal relationships in which structures of power work horizontally. In this course, we will examine novels in which daughters take the central role. Our focus on literary daughters is intended both to provide nuance to our understanding of the American literary canon, and to examine how the representation of daughters has motivated experiments with form and character in the novel.
Terms: Win | Units: 5
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