ENGLISH 360 - The Rise of the Novel
Fall 2018, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course explores developments in early English fiction in the context of 18th-century British and Irish social history. We will be especially concerned with the way the genre attempts to map the connections between private domestic life and the public world of law, politics, and national affairs. Sexuality, family structure, and the descent of property – these are often seen as the great topics of the novel. But how are these “private” matters shown to interact with society? With national and international affairs?

As we trace the emergence of the novel as a new way of knowing the world – our first example is Defoe – we will also explore how and why the conventions of formal realism were so strongly challenged by Henry Fielding and Laurence Sterne. A somewhat different mode of skepticism appears in Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas, a philosophical novel that brings to bear all of Johnson’s formidable intelligence on questions of truth, desire, and illusion. Here the challenge to “realism” is broadly religious and existential.

We will conclude with the remarkable surge of women writers that marks the latter half of the eighteenth century: with Frances Burney’s brilliant satire about a young woman’s coming of age, Evelina; with the invention of the multi-generational historical novel (in Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent); and with two masterpieces by Jane Austen. We will read both Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.

Course Requirements:

Grades will be based on one brief paper (4-5 pages, worth 25%), one medium-length research paper (about 15 pages, worth 35%), and a mid-term exam (worth 20%). Class participation will count for the remaining 20% of your final grade.


ENGLISH 360 - The Rise of the Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
9/4/18 - 12/11/18

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