This class will follow the eventful life of the British novel across two and a half centuries, examining the intricate cross-connections linking text and culture. To do this, we will pay special attention to issues of subjectivity, structures of reading, and experiments with form. What do all these tortured souls, fulsome addresses to the reader, and fragmented chapters mean for our understanding of the history of the novel? How does the novel define itself as an alternative to other ways of representing experience and conveying ideas, and how does that self-definition change over time? We'll be finding out, reading novels ranging from Behn's _Oroonoko_ and Defoe's _Robinson Crusoe_ to Joyce's _Portrait of the Artist_ and Conrad's _Heart of Darkness_, with additional primary and secondary materials on the reception and theorization of the genre. Course requirements will include two short papers, a midterm, and a (non-cumulative) final exam--and, of course, faithful attendance and enthusiastic participation in class discussion.