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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 392M • Engendering the Romantic Novel

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35545 MW
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
MEZ 1.104

Course Description

Histories of the novel have tended to give short shrift to the Romantic period. Even now mainstream critics still sometimes posit a sort of dark ages between the eighteenth century innovation of the form and its nineteenth century heyday, an obscure interval illuminated by little other than the purportedly timeless brilliance of Jane Austen. Over the past decade, however, revisionist historians of the novel have forcefully argued that this seeming interregnum was actually a decisive era for the shaping of the genre. Meanwhile, although these scholars tell quite different stories, most of them closely associate the Romantic-period emergence of the novel as a respectable, even privileged genre with contemporaneous shifts in norms for the representation of gender and for the articulation of gender relations in the public sphere. In this course, we will investigate this particular nexus of genre and gender, reading a series of Romantic novels and related texts, some relevant selections from recent literary history and criticism, and some Victorian works that might look importantly different if read in the light of such an alternative genealogy of the novel. Students who have not read widely in the fiction of the period will find this class an appropriate introduction to it, while students with interests in the history and theory of the novel more generally, or in gender studies methodologies, will be able to further explore those interests here. Particular attention will be paid to how studies in both the eighteenth-century and the nineteenth-century novel appear differently from a perspective that centers on the Romantic period.


Books [subject to change]:

Fanny Burney, Evelina

Sophia Lee, The Recess

Ann Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest

Mary Wollstonecraft, The Vindications

William Godwin, Caleb Williams

Sydney Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl

Jane Austen, Emma

Walter Scott, The Heart of Midlothian

Walter Scott, Kenilworth

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Mary Shelley, The Last Man

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights


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