This general survey course will trace the evolution of the novel, examining its growing cultural, historical, and political significance. In a period of intensifying social and economic change, the novel inevitably reflected and affected the transformation of society by simultaneously soothing and exacerbating the tensions within its culture. By the end of the 19th century, the novel had emerged as a highly politicized form of literature, directly challenging core Victorian institutions. The purpose of the novel shifted from providing a faithful depiction of reality to serving as a testing ground for proposed solutions.
Readings may include novels by the following writers: Samuel Richardson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf. Theoretical and critical selections will also be assigned. Formal assignments will include a class presentation, one paper (8-10 pages), as well as a midterm and final exam. Regular attendance and active class participation are also required