Women in Literature (English 115/Women's Studies 115 ) - Alison Kuehner, Professor - English Department

"No entertainment is so cheap as reading; nor any pleasure so lasting."
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Jane Austen, portrait.If you like to read, if you like to read literature written by women, or if you are curious about women writers, then this class is for you. Each week we will read literature written by women, then go online to discuss the readings with classmates and with the teacher.

Readings for the semester include the following novels by women:

  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen -
    The famous opening line, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" sets the tone for a novel about money, marriage, and love.
  • Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte -
    Plain, poor, and orphaned-so Jane Eyre begins her hard life, but with determination, intelligence, and morals she wins friends, family, and the man she loves.
  • Book cover: Quicksand by Nella Larsen.The Awakening, by Kate Chopin -
    This novel was deemed scandalous when it was published in 1899 and banned from some American libraries. Read it and find out why!
  • Quicksand, by Nella Larsen -
    Morrison was the first black woman writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature and this novel focuses on the enduring friendship between two black women.

We will also read poetry, by women such as Anne Bradstreet (the first American women poet), Phillis Wheatly (the first black American woman poet), and by Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("How do I love thee… "); speeches by women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth (advocating for women's and black women's rights); and essays by Virginia Woolf and Alice Walker (on why there were no women writers or black women writers like Shakespeare) and many other wonderful writers.

Virginia Woolf and Alice Walker.

We will consider what makes these works of literature meaningful still today, what women's lives were like, what obstacles women writers faced in writing or getting their works published, and just enjoy reading imaginative, well written literature written by women.


Contact Professor Alison Kuehner at akuehner@ohlone.edu for more information about this class or how to register.

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