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Topics in the Novel: National Tales

ENGL 760.301
M 9-12


This seminar will explore nationalism and the novel between 1745 and 1900. England will stand in the course as a kind of negative center of gravity, one shaping our sense of nationhood and narrative form even as we devote particular attention to specific British, American and European national and colonial discourses. How did the changing face of Britain--as embodied not only through the Scottish (1707) and Irish (1800) Acts of Union but also by the "rises" of the first (1763ff) and second (1815ff) British empires--affect the ideological and formal qualities of the novel? How did individual writers, through their representations of key historical events both in Britain and in other European countries, transform notions of "character," both individual and national?

For the first several weeks of the semester we'll read critical writers like Benedict Anderson, Linda Colley, Ina Ferris, Eric Hobsbaum, and Katie Trumpener alongside novelists like Jane Austen, Charles Brockden Brown, Frances Burney, Wilkie Collins, Maria Edgeworth, Lady Morgan, Walter Scott, Tobias Smollett, Germaine de Stael, and Bram Stoker. Somewhere after its midway point, however, the course will transform itself into a true seminar, our readings following the interests of each participant. There will be a number of responses, and a short and long essay.

Fulfills #2 requirement.

fulfills requirements