Rise of the Novel
The British novel as we know it began to emerge in the eighteenth century. But in its formative years, the novel was not yet a settled form or a coherent literary genre; it encompassed a staggering variety of competing strategies for fictional storytelling—some still in use today, others now largely abandoned. We'll discuss a representative sampling of these early novels: their authors' treatments of plot and character, experiments with structure, and movements toward (or total lack of interest in) formal realism.
The reading load in this course is demanding; consider carefully before committing to any other courses with heavy reading.
In Spring 2012, we'll be reading
- Aphra Behn, The Fair Jilt and Oroonoko (1688)
- Samuel Richardson, Pamela (1740)
- Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)
- Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1760-1767)
- Frances Burney, Evelina (1778)
- Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (1790)
- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1796/1813)
I'm still really bummed that I wasn't able to make room for Fielding's Tom Jones. It's widely regarded as one of the most perfectly plotted novels ever written, and it's hilarious.
Class members will write two 6-10 page formal papers for this course. A draft and a meeting with me are required for the first paper and encouraged for the second paper. In addition, there will be three short (2-3 pages) and relatively informal response papers, each responding to a different novel; a brief annotated bibliography, which will be both submitted in writing and presented informally to the class; and a brief class presentation about a social practice, historical event, or element of material culture relevant to one or more of our readings.
last updated: Thursday, 18-Apr-2013 16:00:26 CDT