This course surveys trend-setting novels from France, Germany, Russia, and Italy from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. We will explore--in translation--those visionary European novelists who broke new ground in terms of technique and subject matter--writers such as Goethe, whose The Sorrows of Young Werther so dominated contemporary popular culture that people dressed a la Werther, while some identified so strongly with the main character's troubled love life and social aspirations that they mimicked his own tragic death. We will end with Kafka's nightmarish and surreal vision of modern life and Western civilization. In addition to Goethe and Kafka, novelists will include Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Svevo, and Zola, among others. All readings will be in translation. Course requirements: attendance, participation in class discussion, and written assignments.