This course traces the development of the British novel from its origins in the late 17th century to experiments of the 20th. We will read a range of examples of the genre, analyzing conventions and innovations in narrative form. We will also consider each text in the context of significant shifts in England's social, political, and economic landscape, such as the growth of Britain as an imperial power, the industrial revolution and the rise of the middle class, conflicts between scientific discoveries and religious doctrine, and changing definitions of gender roles. Readings are likely to include works by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, and Jean Rhys. We will supplement our readings with essays representing a variety of theoretical approaches to this rich and multifaceted genre. Course requirements include lively class participation, frequent short assignments, two 5-7-page essays, and a final exam.
Distribution III: May be counted as a Distributional course in Arts & Letters. This course satisfies Sector V of the core requirement for the English Major.