This course considers a broad period in the history of the British novel in order to understand the significance of changes in literary form. We will examine each novel's representation of "reality" as well as the different methods of conveying that reality. Paying close attention to the relationship between themes and narrative forms, we will ask how novels address the moral and philosophical crises of living in a tumultuous age of war and imperial expansion. We will consider how questions of national and personal identity were intertwined in the characters' experiences as men and women of particular social classes.
We will read novels by Aphra Behn, Samuel Richardson, Daniel Defoe, Horace Walpole, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad and Ford Maddox Ford. We will also consider secondary critical and historical works. Requirements: active participation in class discussion, short response papers, two essays, a mid-term and final.