The Rise of the Novel
In this course we will explore the variety and fluidity of prose fiction in English as it took shape over the period between 1660 and 1830. As the authors of early novels experimented with literary form, they grappled with crucial questions about truth and authority, identity and embodiment, feelings and politics. We will consider these questions and also engage with the material history of the genre through digital archives and Penn Libraries’ outstanding collections of rare books. Readings will include work by John Bunyan, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Horace Walpole, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and their respective contemporaries. Course requirements include active class participation, a journal for reading notes and reflections, three short papers (4–5 pages each), and a longer final paper or creative project. This course may also count towards the Digital Humanities Minor (Tier 3), depending on the nature of your final project. No prior knowledge of the period or its literature is required to take this course.