18th-Century Novel in English

The Eighteenth Century marked the beginning the English novel.  In this course, we will study the early novel as an innovative genre.  We will consider the ways eighteenth-century authors experimented with this new bulky, self-consciously democratic form to explore issues of gender, politics, economics, literature, ethics, and culture.  We will also look at narrative technique, particularly how writers incorporated “discussions” about the novel as a genre into the language and structure of their works.  Finally, we will examine the historical changes taking place in England and the world that contextualized this new genre and made it possible.

Readings include:

  • Daniel Defoe’s ROXANA
  • Samuel Richardson’s CLARISSA (abridged)
  • Henry Fielding’s TOM JONES
  • Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess
  • Elizabeth Inchbald, A SIMPLE STORY
  • Ann Radcliffe, A SICILIAN ROMANCE
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, MARY and THE WRONGS OF WOMEN.

Writing Requirement include six essay exams over the course of the semester and a final exam.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will know the fundamental principles of the Eighteenth-Century novel in English and will be able to formulate reasoned, comparative arguments exploring how those principles are articulated, investigated and challenged in particular texts.