This course charts the development of the novel, tracing its evolution from popular genres such as criminal biography, conversion narrative, travel writing, romance, conduct manuals, the epistle; its consolidation during the Victorian period; and its several adaptations to twentieth-century Modernist aesthetics. We will attend to the relationship between evolving ideas about the novel--what it is, and what it is for--and the changing social and political milieux of England over the past 300 years. Reading the novel--its evolving and varied conventions, its multiple and shifting plots--as both a reflection of and response to the cultural upheavals that accompanied BritainUs emergence as an industrial and imperial power, we will examine the role of fiction in shaping modern British notions of identity, community, nation and empire. Readings will include Aphra Behn (Oroonoko), Daniel Defoe (Moll Flanders), Samuel Richardson (Clarissa [abridged]), Jane Austen (Persuasion, Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), George Eliot (JanetUs Repentance), Charles Dickens (Great Expectations), Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), Virginia Woolf (Mrs Dalloway), Jean Rhys(Wide Sargasso Sea). Requirements: 2 short critical essays (5-7 pps), a final longer paper (10-15 pps), and a final exam.
Note: Students who want an alternative to the usual English 203 requirement may take any two of the following: English 45, 55, 65.