This course traces the development of the realist novel in modern Britain: how it emerged as a form and why, by the middle of the nineteenth century, it was different things to different people: the best way to tell a story for some and an effective instrument of social change for others. Although we will be charting its historical development, we will also be paying attention to formal aspects of the novel through close readings. Primary readings include Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf. We will also read a few key essays on the development and form of the European novel. Requirements include short written assignments, one mid-term exam and two 5-7 page essays. Attendance and class participation are mandatory.