This site is the OER for Martha Nadell's English 7320 at Brooklyn College. Here's what Dead Girls is all about:
Young flirts. Debutantes. Street Walkers. In the nineteenth century, or at least in its novels, consumption, Roman fever, and madness claim these girls quite young. This class focuses on the surprisingly common figure of the dead girl in nineteenth-century American literature. We investigate the death of the young girl through a range of issues, including the construction of femininity and maternity, the intersection of class and ethnicity, the contrast between urban and rural space, and the formation of national identity. We speculate about the nature of realism and naturalism and explore the visual culture of dead girls of the time. We focus on the work of Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James, Edith Wharton, and others.