Welcome to my new blog on Chick Lit.   My interest in Chick Lit began long before I knew about the term, back in my undergraduate days when one of my professors introduced me to Margaret Fuller and Woman in the Nineteenth Century.    I read Jane Tompkins’  Sentimental Fiction and discovered that women have always played an important role in literary history.  It’s just that no one wrote about them.  By “no one,” I mean the fathers of canon building.  In grad school, I read Nina Baym’s seminal Woman’s Fiction, and then began reading as many novels and essays by early American women writers as I could, even writing my dissertation on Maria Susanna Cummins, author of the bestselling The Lamplighter that provoked Nathaniel Hawthorne’s frustration with “the dam’d mob of scribbling women.”  The “dam’d mob” is still frustrating the hallowed halls of the publishing world, not to mention academia.   Four years ago, I transferred my interest from the “chick lit” of the 19th century to the New Woman’s Fiction (term courtesy of Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young).  I started by creating a class for undergraduates (I’ve now taught it 4 times in the last 3 years), and then began delivering conference papers on the subject.  The debates about Chick LIt are all about feminism–is Chick Lit feminist, post-feminist, sexist, oppressive?  As I begin research on a book about Chick Lit, I will share my ideas here, and hope that a few of you out there will be interested.

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