Date of Award

5-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

David Kress

Second Committee Member

Greg Howard

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Neiman

Abstract

Novels about and for women are often maligned by the reading public. Referred to as “chick lit” or other unflattering terms, these books are often published and treated in ways distinct from their male counterparts because of assumptions about feminine authorship and “femalehood” as a differentiation from the norm: novels about men, then, are “universal” and novels about women are “niche” or “genre.” Similar trends can be seen in the way writing for young people, who are often considered an unsophisticated audience in ways that parallel closely with perceptions of women-as-audience. Increasingly, however, women and young people are the people who still read books.

This thesis is part of an ongoing effort on the author's part to disrupt this shared assumption about the seriousness of women and young people by writing books about and for young women and “young adults” that take them seriously as an audience. It embodies many elements of the “young adult novel” canon such as fantastic happenings (time travel, ambiguously magical events), but retains features of serious novels and contains an accompanying critical introduction that describes the research into the way structural inequality impacts which texts are “literary” and which are “genre.”

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