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. We will examine the novel's evolving attempt to represent "reality" as well as the different methods of conveying that reality. By the end of the 19th century, the novel had emerged as a highly politicized form of literature, directly challenging core institutions. Course requirements include two essays, regular quizzes, a final exam, and lively participation.