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Spring 2009

E 327 • The English Novel in the Eighteenth Century

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34335 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 306
BARCHAS

Course Description

The generic label "novel" did not come into general use until the 1780s. Yet long before then writers and readers acknowledged that a "new species" of writing was rapidly transforming the literary scene (even if they couldn't agree on what to call it). "Novel" is ultimately an apt name for a genre that experimented broadly (and, broadly, every publication was an experiment during these formative years) with both narrative content and printed self-presentation. This class explores the emergence of the British novel over the course of "the long eighteenth century," from 1688 to 1816. Although this class includes study of a pivotal work by Defoe and consideration of the famous Fielding and Richardson rivalry, it dedicates the bulk of its attention to important fictions by early women writers. It is not coincidental that the rise of the novel coincides with the rise of the professional woman writer (and a sharp increase in female literacy); the novel's fate would be in large part determined by the female pen. Lectures will provide a historical and visual context for these texts' overlapping preoccupations with issues as varied as art, colonialism, landscape, economics, theatre, urbanization, and print culture.

Grading Policy

Four 4-page papers 15% each
Final exam 30%
Attendance/Participation/Quiz 10%

Texts

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders
Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess
Samuel Richardson, Pamela
Charlotte Lennox, Female Quixote
Frances Burney, Evelina
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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