How is power distributed between men and women? In what ways does the private world of feelings and personal relationships reflect political attitudes and affairs of state? The novel is preoccupied with such questions as it emerges in the English-speaking world of the eighteenth century. Both male and female writers continually revisit narratives of women who, by pursuing their desires, gain or lose their rights, their identities, and their freedom. These stories of women's successful and unsuccessful forays into independence, wildly popular during the "century of revolution," serve as vehicles for pointed commentary about gender relations and national politics. We will examine novels by Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Requirements: two moderately-sized papers, midterm and final exams, lively participation.