“Her relations now are not only emotional; they are intellectual, they are political.” – Virginia Woolf, “Women and Fiction”

Arising out of the social and political contexts of “modernity,” the novel has been a genre of both social and philosophical reflection. It has also attracted a number of notable female authors and predominantly female readers. In this course we will focus on women who took up the novel as a genre of social critique and philosophical meditation, and on the ways in which novels create networks of female knowledge.

Tracing the evolution of the novel form from its enlightened beginnings to its modernist re-imaginings, this course will explore the philosophical questions that shape and limit the genre, and how, in turn, novels by women have participated in philosophical, social, and political thinking.