Novel Scenes: Traveling through the Eighteenth-Century Novel
From the moment of its inception in the Eighteenth century, the novel has been enthralled with the new, the exotic, the strange. In this course, we will survey the development of this eminently modern genre and its perennial concern with travel and discovery. Taking up its central forms-picaresque, epistolary gothic, and sentimental-we will examine how the novel imagines new kinds of identity and selfhood by transporting its readers to foreign climes or taking them on a tour of the British countryside. As we chart the novel’s rise from its uncertain beginnings in 17th century travel narrative and spiritual autobiography to the fame of Jane Austen and Walter Scott, we will also pay particular attention to how novels create psychological interiors while taking up social and political issues we continue to grapple with today. Readings will likely include works by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney, William Godwin, Charlotte Smith, Sydney Owenson, Charles Brockden Brown, and Jane Austen. Course requirements: informal responses, creative exercises, two short papers, a presentation, and a final exam.