English Seminar: The New York City New Woman Novel: Theodore Dreiser’s ‘Sister Carrie’ and the New Woman as Actress – School of Literature, Art and Media English Seminar: The New York City New Woman Novel: Theodore Dreiser’s ‘Sister Carrie’ and the New Woman as Actress – School of Literature, Art and Media

English Seminar: The New York City New Woman Novel: Theodore Dreiser’s ‘Sister Carrie’ and the New Woman as Actress

Georgia Monaghan: In Search of the New York City New Woman Novel: Theodore Dreiser’s ‘Sister Carrie’ and the New Woman as Actress

Abstract:

If so many prominent historians define the American New Woman as a predominantly urban, and primarily New York City phenomenon, and if the realist novel of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries purports to represent historical reality, then where are the New Woman novels that represent New York City’s self-supporting New Women? And perhaps more significantly, why after over four decades of literary scholarship on the New Woman novel, arguably one of the most important genres of the late nineteenth century, is there no significant and separate study of the New York City New Woman novel? The aim of my research project is to locate and then examine a constellation of New Woman novels set in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. I endeavour to bring into this previously unidentified subgenre both canonical novels which have rarely been read as New Woman texts, as well as popular, overlooked and forgotten novels which I believe fit this proposed category. This paper will offer a new reading of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie as a novel featuring what I posit is an exemplary New Woman protagonist when viewed through a new definitional framework which I will also offer. In examining this text, I will show that the New York City New Woman novel differs significantly from other regional variations such as those set in New England and the South due to the distinctively radical and spectacular environment of New York City which created several unique varieties of real-world New Women: the Suffragette, the Socialist, the Bohemian and, the focus of this paper, the Actress.

Georgia Monaghan is a Doctor of Arts candidate and teaches in the Creative Writing program at the University of Sydney. She is a published author of short fiction and creative nonfiction and was the founding editor of The Newtowner: An Arts and Literary Magazine (USA). She is currently working on a novel set in Coney Island and Greenwich Village at the turn of the twentieth century and is researching the nexus between “spectacle” and the New Woman in New York City as part of her doctoral thesis.

 

Venue

This event will be held online via Zoom.

Contact: Liam Semler (liam.semler@sydney.edu.au).

 

Upcoming English Department seminars Semester 2 2021

 

13 Oct

 

Paul Giles, ‘Decolonizing the University’

 

 

20 Oct

 

Nathalie Camerlynck, ‘Raymond Federman and Samuel Beckett, or “What the fuck am I doing here in this life?”’

 

 

10 Nov

 

Lynda Ng, ‘Climate justice, world literature and Alexis Wright’

 

Date

Oct 06 2021

Time

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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