As early as 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne damned the popularity and profitability of female writers as the product of a “mob of scribbling women.” While the phrasing has changed, scorn for and taboos about literature for women, by women have persisted. In this course, we’ll dive into the tradition of so-called “chick lit,” looking both at the constraints put on women’s writing and the utterly transgressive themes that slipped in regardless. We will explore authors and texts ranging form Louisa May Alcott’s crime dramas, nineteenth-century gothic bestsellers, and narratives from the high societies of the Harlem Renaissance to modern incarnations of the form such as The Girl on the Train, films such as Obvious Child, and shows like UnReal, Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Material will cover the essentials of analyzing text and film, so no previous familiarity is required. The course will emphasize the role of gender, sexuality, the gothic, race, and parody across this genre, as well as providing historical context for the creation of these texts. Assignments will include two short pieces of analytical writing, an annotated bibliography, and a final exam.