We’re All Mad Here in the Attic

I love crazy bitches.

This week, I put together a course that looks at literature’s classic mad women, stuck in attics and in rooms and in jails and in the oppression of society. It’s a course about feminism and mental illness, and whether historically the two of them have been combined. Because who locks their wife in the attic and lets her scratch around? That’s not cool, man. The course looks at the main texts in order, with the supplemental texts dispersed throughout.

We’re All Mad Here in the Attic

Questions for all texts: Who is mad? Who considers her mad? Does the author want you to think that she is mad? How does the author construct her madness? What are the symptoms of her madness? What, if anything, drives her to be mad? How does her madness reflects societal standards for femininity? Is she really mad? Does she ever overcome her madness, and if so, how does she do it? Who are the sane characters, and how do they contrast to her? Are they too mad?

Main Texts (14 weeks):

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (2 weeks)

Gaslight (AKA Angel Streetby Patrick Hamilton

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1 week)

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf  (2 weeks)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (2 weeks)

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (1 week)

A Rose for Emily and Other Stories by William Faulkner (1 week)

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (3 weeks)

Miss Julie by August Strindberg (1 week)

Supplemental (4 weeks):

The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Garber

Dora by Sigmund Freud

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan



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