In the late 20th century everybody reads "novels," and we all take novels (long prose narratives about more or less realistic and recognizable events) for granted. But the novel is a European literary form that is only about three hundred years old, and in English literature has its beginnings in the early 1700s. We will read a representative selection of narratives written in Britain during this period when the novel as we know it was in the process of establishing itself and ponder the issues surrounding the emergence of the modern world's defining literary form. Among the writers we will read are Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Oliver Goldsmith, John Cleland, Samuel Johnson, Laurence Sterne, and Frances Burney. There will be three papers, two about 4-5 pages and one long paper of about 15 pages, and a take-home exam.