ENGLISH 460 - Studies in the Novel
Fall 2021, Section 001 - Fiction and Reality
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Novels are fictional—that is, explicitly made-up stories about imaginary characters—yet they typically strive to convince their readers they are true to life. Taking this paradox as our starting point, this course will explore such questions as: What techniques do novelists use to make their novels seem “realistic”—and what does that even mean? What understanding of reality do novels promote? How have these techniques and these understandings changed over time? What assumptions—about people or society or the universe—guide our own sense of how true-to-life a novel seems? What are the benefits and pitfalls of using novels as a lens through which to view real life?

We will read a series of novels starting in the early nineteenth century and ending in the twenty-first century, along with relevant critical and theoretical work. Likely novels include: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817); Elizabeth Gaskell, Cousin Phillis (1863); George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872) or Daniel Deronda (1876); Ian McEwan, Atonement (2001); and Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive (2019).

Course Requirements:

Writing requirements will likely consist of frequent, informal response papers and three formal, 5-6 page papers.

Class Format:



ENGLISH 460 - Studies in the Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for ENGLISH 460.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ENGLISH 460 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)