A New “Major Figure”? Incorporating Sarah Savage’s The Factory Girl in the American Literature Survey

Fiona McWilliam
Florida State University

This past Spring I had the opportunity to teach Sarah Savage’s The Factory Girl in my Major Figures in American Literature course at Florida State University. This 3000-level course, aimed primarily (but not exclusively) at English majors, centered around the theme, “Nineteenth-Century American Authors in Context.” My aim for the semester was for students to engage with cultural artifacts from the nineteenth century and thus develop a more nuanced understanding of our assigned texts and authors. More broadly, I wanted students to think about how and why an author becomes a “major-figure” and consider why we read some authors and texts but not others – Sarah Savage’s The Factory Girl seemed like the perfect opportunity to have students consider these questions. Continue reading “A New “Major Figure”? Incorporating Sarah Savage’s The Factory Girl in the American Literature Survey”