ENGH 333: British Novel of the 18th Century

ENGH 333-001: British Novel 18th Century
(Fall 2021)

12:00 PM to 01:15 PM TR

Planetary Hall (formerly Science & Tech I) 127

Section Information for Fall 2021

The novel has been the most popular of literary genres since at least the nineteenth century, but it is also among the most modern of literary genres. In English, the modern novel really only emerges in the eighteenth century and fairly quickly displaces the ancient genres of drama and poetry as the most popular literary genre. The “rise of the novel”—that is, its consolidation as a genre of writing and its slow gain in respectability as “serious” literature (without ever entirely shedding the disdain directed toward it as frivolous entertainment)—has been one of the important themes in modern literary history. In this course, we’ll examine some of the variety of kinds of fiction that feed into the novel across the eighteenth century: among others, allegorical narratives and fables, utopian fiction, amatory fiction, gossipy secret histories, picaresque narratives and rogue biographies, Oriental tales, object narratives (featuring non-human protagonists), sentimental fiction, and Gothic narratives. We’ll read a sampling of works from across the century to get a sense of the “ingredients” that went into the development of the novel in its early, inchoate period and that remind us of possibilities and precedents in the novelistic tradition. (Authors in this vein include John Bunyan, Aphra Behn, Delariviere Manley, Eliza Haywood, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, Oliver Goldsmith, Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne, Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, William Godwin and numerous others: we’ll read a selection from among them—whatever we can fit into the space available!)


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

English novel from its beginnings through turn of 19th century. Covers works by Behn, Defoe, Haywood, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Burney, Smollett, and Austen. Limited to three attempts.
Recommended Prerequisite: Satisfaction of University requirements in 100-level English and in Mason Core literature.
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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