This course investigates representations of women in popular fiction, beginning in the eighteenth century and extending into the twenty-first century. We will consider portrayals of female identity that are seen as positive or instructive, as well as those that are seen as destructive or dangerous. We will also analyze the intellectual history of women as revealed in popular texts, including an exploration of the ways that circumventing traditional authority structures can make one a heroine or a disgrace. The class will also survey the ways that class, sexuality, and race inform which texts about women are “bestsellers” and inquire into why other texts are marginalized. Once you are finished with the class, you will understand the evolution of female characters from the eighteenth-century heroine Pamela to Bella from Twilight. It is my hope that this class will interest you whether you are interested in reading novels, creating compelling characters of your own, studying fiction, teaching, or working in publishing.