Theories of the Novel
This graduate seminar will offer an introduction to histories and theories of the novel. Half of our time will be spent reading works of fiction spanning the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, and the other half will be devoted to theoretical works by Lukács, Bakhtin, Watt, Said, Jameson, Armstrong, Gallagher, Woloch, Kornbluh, Sánchez-Prado, McGurl, Brouillette, and more. We will ask what competing forms have shaped the novel as well as what historical and ideological conditions brought those forms into being. We will pay particular attention to the novel’s widely recognized but also quite variably understood intimacy with capitalism from its emergence to its current “advanced" incarnation. We will also consider fiction from the vantage point of world systems, and we will ask whether it is indeed possible to theorize "the novel" as such or whether there can only be theories of novels in the plural.