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18th Century Novel

ENGL 545.401
instructor(s):
T 9-12

Readings in the standard novels (Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, Goldsmith, Johnson, Walpole, Lennox, and Burney) but also some reading of shorter fiction by Behn, Haywood, Manley, Davys, and others (in the new anthology of such material I've edited, with Paula Backscheider,*Popular Fiction by Women 1660-1730*). Among the issues to be discussed are the origins and functions of the early novel, the nature of emerging novelistic narrative and its various difference from predecessor forms and formats, the varieties of competing narrative types in the period, the ideological functions of these varieties, and the evolution or eventual domination of the genre by one or another strain of narrative. I am especially interested in the ways that fiction both promotes and retards social change and self-consciousness about such change, and social change and fiction will be my particular and recurring emphasis. That emphasis will not exclude other formal and thematic concerns, and indeed i am especially interested in reading some of these fictions from the perspectives provided by the work of M.M. Bakhtin and some other theorists of the historical evolution of narrative. Note: we'll be reading Richardson's *Clarissa* in the unabridged Penguin, and anyone contemplating taking the course should start reading it well before the course begins.