This course will trace the rise and development of the British novel as a literary and cultural form. We will examine novels as responses to and precipitants of shifts in England's social, political, and economic landscape from the late 17th to the early 20th century. How did individual novels reflect and contribute to new ideas of reality generated by such phenomena as imperial expansion, the redistribution of power among social classes, women¹s increasing influence in and contributions to the public sphere, conflicts between established faith and scientific discovery, and the industrial revolution? Discussions will focus in particular on how major, epochal events are represented and processed through the private, interior worlds evoked by novels. Our readings will include works by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy and Joseph Conrad. We will supplement our novel reading with secondary texts pertaining to cultural analysis and theorization of the genre. Requirements include active participation in class discussions, short quizzes, three essays ranging from 2-7 pages in length and a final exam.