What is a novel, exactly? We may think we know, but in fact that question has been debated for hundreds of years, and there have been a surprising number of different answers. What counts as a novel, it turns out, depends largely on who's asking, when, and for what purposes.
In this course, we'll read a few works that might be novels, and the work of a large number of theorists from the early eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. We'll ask how helpful each theorist's work is to understanding our primary texts and what's at stake in determining whether a work "is" or "is not" a novel.
This is an advanced seminar designed for upper-division students who anticipate graduate study in a humanistic discipline. Substantial, fast-moving reading and individual research will be required. Advanced English majors and advanced students from humanistic departments other than English are welcome.