18th Century British Novel. Instructor C. Sussman

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344.01. 18th Century British Novel. Instructor C. Sussman. WF 1:25-2:40. Area II
Eighteenth-century Britain is often associated with "the rise of the novel": a time and place where the novel became
a prominent, if not the dominant, literary genre. We will study the process by which the novel moved from being an
experimental, and sometimes scandalous, form of writing, to being a respectable genre—albeit one that still made
room for experiment. Other issues we will consider include: the novel's role in shaping ideas of personhood,
including sexuality and class status; the role of women writers in the history of the novel; the nature of literary
realism; and the novel's representation of emotions—what the eighteenth century call "sensibility."
Possible texts include: Aphra Behn's narrative of slave rebellion in Surinam, Oroonoko—considered by many critics
to be the first novel; Defoe's Moll Flanders; Eliza Haywood's Love in Excess, a best-seller in its own day, though
little read now; Richardson's Pamela—thought by many to define the genre; Fielding's Joseph Andrews; Horace
Walpole's The Castle of Otranto—the first "gothic" novel; Sterne's wildly experimental novel, Tristram Shandy; and
Frances Burney's Evelina. We end the course with Jane Austen's early nineteenth-century novel,


last updated june 2015