ENGLISH 360 - The Rise of the Novel
Section: 001 The British and American Novel
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course explores the emergence of the modern novel as a literary form, beginning with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and ending with Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017). Although we conclude outside of Britain, most of our attention will be paid to the British novel as it is shaped in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the likes of Defoe, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. Following Dickens, we will consider William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and the flowering of the Faulknerian mode in the work of Ward. In order to theorize the novel's contours, we will also take up the work of critics ranging from Ian Watt and Wayne Booth to José Ortega y Gasset and Nancy Armstrong. Among the many questions we will consider are the following. What constitutes “realism” and “fantasy” in the novel? How is the sense of the individual developed in novels? How are gender roles imagined and reimagined? To what degree might we understand novels to be engines or instigators of social and political change? Do novels, in other words, merely reflect the social worlds from which they emerge, or do they shape them? How might the aims of novelists and the aims of readers be at odds with one another? What is the relation of the novel to the worlds of commerce, empire, and revolution? None of the assigned books for this course are expensive and classes should be fun.

Course Requirements:

Students will watch scenes from filmic adaptations of some of the novels (including Austen’s Emma), and do group presentations. There will also be lectures and PowerPoint presentations. Assignments include two papers (5-7 pages each), a midterm, and a short essay in lieu of a final exam.

ENGLISH 360 - The Rise of the Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM
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