Conn. (WTNH) — Some of the greatest novels in American history can be credited to women authors, often making the list of assigned reading materials in college.
WordTips delved into what the culture of women’s literature looked like on syllabi across the U.S. The site used OpenSyllabus.org to search through 300,000 English Literature syllabi.
So, which women-authored novel is most assigned at colleges throughout Connecticut?
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” took the crown for most-assigned novel by a woman not only in the Nutmeg state, but in 41 states across the country. The novel, written in 1818, tells the story of a scientist who creates a creature through a scientific experiment.
“Frankenstein” also took the top spot for number of appearances across both ivy league and public colleges.
“Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein‘ is something of a Frankenstein book, combining bits of science, philosophy and gothic horror — with Shelley arguably inventing science fiction as we know it in the process — which makes it a cross-discipline tome that appears on literature, theology and women’s studies programs among others.”
The classics, while written over one hundred years ago, are still making an impact. Charlotte Bronte’s “Jayne Eyre,” “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, and Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” were seen on multiple syllabi.
Other top novels include Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Ceremony,” “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, and Tori Morrison’s “Beloved.”
In terms of the most assigned women novelists in American colleges, Virginia Woolf took the No. 1 spot. Woolf, known for “Mrs. Dalloway” and “The Voyage Out,” appeared over 8,000 times on Syllabi, followed by Morrison, Shelley, Austen, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
“Woolf’s oeuvre is ripe for the classroom due to its overarching themes, ground-breaking formal techniques and social politics,” WordTips wrote. “Her wealth of non-fiction essays helps contextualize all the above, leading to a broad variety of takes on the subject. Ironically, there’s even a syllabus that explores how Woolf’s writing was “affected by her embittered sense of being peripheral to academia.”
See the full study by WordTips here.