E 327 • English Novel In 18th Century-W
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
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 novels 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.
Four 4-page papers 15% each Final exam 30% Attendance/Participation/Quiz 10%
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (Norton); Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Norton); Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (Broadview Press); Samuel Richardson, Pamela (OUP); Charlotte Lennox, Female Quixote (OUP); Frances Burney, Evelina (OUP or Norton); Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Norton); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (OUP).