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

Fall 2009

E 392M • 18th-Century Novel

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759-67) is routinely treated as a literary outlier - a text so unique (so "modern" or “ahead of its time”) that it falls outside of the traditional trajectory of the eighteenth-century British novel. This class, instead, hopes to regard Tristram Shandy’s innovation and novelty as part and parcel of a genre that would, eventually, be aptly labeled The Novel. Until about 1780, the term “novel” had remained a slightly derogatory slur set upon demeaning the genre’s staying power by dismissing, rather than celebrating, its innovations. This syllabus works backwards from Tristram Shandy to trace within canonical texts that are routinely considered part of the “rise” of the early novel those nascent qualities that emerge cartoonishly distorted in Tristram Shandy. A considerable amount of time will be spent looking at original editions, in order to consider with real-world examples in the HRC the physical rambunctiousness of early novels as printed books.


Possible primary texts:
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1759-67)
Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (1719)
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722)
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Samuel Richardson, Pamela (1740)
Henry Fielding, Shamela (1741)
-------, Joseph Andrews (1742)
Plus either Clarissa (1748) or Tom Jones (1749).

Some secondary texts: The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, ed. John Richetti, and selections from critical staples by Ian Watt, J. Paul Hunter, and Michael McKeon.


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