By bringing together several essays from the influential ‘‘No More Sepa-
rate Spheres!’’ special issue of American Literature, plus a number of classic
essays and three new pieces commissioned especially for this volume, we
have created a book intended as a core text in undergraduate and graduate
courses on American literature, women’s literature, feminist theory, or the
public sphere. For undergraduates, No More Separate Spheres! is an intro-
duction to a range of feminist criticism, beginning with our introduction
that spells out relationships between women and men, femininity and mas-
culinity, feminism, gender, sex, public and private culture, and the ideology
of the separate spheres. Because individual essays treat a range of Ameri-
can authors—including Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Nathaniel Hawthorne,
Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe,Catharine Beecher, Sarah Josepha
Hale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington,
María Ampara Ruiz de Burton, Pauline Hopkins, W. E. B. Du Bois, Sarah
Orne Jewett, Gwendolyn Brooks, Cynthia Kadohata, Chang-rae Lee, and
Samuel Delany—this could also serve as a ‘‘case book’’ in an American litera-
ture survey course. For graduate students, No More Separate Spheres! exem-
plifies many different ways that gender can be approached and incorporated
into literary interpretations and, conversely, shows how using gender as an
explanatory rubric reveals new insights into texts, authors, literary history,
and theory. For all—scholars or students—this book is designed to show
how other factors (notably race, sexuality, class, nationalism, and affect) are
essential to the gendered reading of American culture.
This book is a collaborative effort in every way, and one equally rooted in
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