If you could decide the syllabus for an English (any level) class, using ONLY female authors or works featuring a female protagonist, which ones would you include?
Joanna Russ, HOW TO SUPPRESS WOMEN’S WRITING
Kelly Oliver, WITNESSING: BEYOND RECOGNITION
Toni Morrison, PLAYING IN THE DARK: WHITENESS AND THE LITERARY IMAGINATION
Virginia Woolf, MRS. DALLOWAY
Willa Cather, SAPPHIRA AND THE SLAVE GIRL
Nella Larsen, QUICKSAND and PASSING
(the last three are novel(la)s on which to exercise the theories presented in the first three)
Natalie Goldberg, WRITING DOWN THE BONES and OLD FRIEND FROM FAR AWAY
Jill Ker Conway, WHEN MEMORY SPEAKS
Lauren Groff, ARCADIA and/or Toni Morrison, BELOVED and/or Zora Neale Hurston, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD
Flannery O’Connor, MYSTERY AND MANNERS
Kay Ryan, THE BEST OF IT and/or Natasha Trewethey, DOMESTIC WORK
Alison Bechdel, FUN HOME
(Representative novel, short story collection, poetry anthology, and memoir, respectively)
Margaret Shertzer, THE ELEMENTS OF GRAMMAR
(I’m a bit short here because my go-to comp texts are Ben Yagoda’s HOW TO NOT WRITE BAD and Bryan A. Garner and Antonin Scalia’s MAKING YOUR CASE: THE ART OF PERSUADING JUDGES.)
Literature needs its own blog, but the cornerstone of a survey course would be W.W. Norton’s LITERATURE BY WOMEN: THE TRADITIONS IN ENGLISH, eds. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar.
These are actually my go-to texts for the subjects listed, not specifically due to their authorship but because they are the best books I’ve found so far for conveying what I want students to get out of my classes.