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What is the distinction between "a novel" and "The Novel"? We'll be exploring the complexity of individual texts as well as the novel genre as a whole over the course of the fall semester. In moving between primary texts, secondary literary criticism and overarching literary theory, we'll be exploring some of the many approaches to this vital literary genre, which is always changing and developing. In looking over the texts we'll be reading this semester, you'll see that our texts will lead us into discussions about the novel’s origins, narrative structures, and voice (singular and communal). We'll be pairing older novels with more recent texts: Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders with Toni Morrison's A Mercy; Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn; F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby with Ian McEwan's Atonement. Finally, nearly every one of the texts we're reading has been adapted for the big screen, the small screen and the stage. Throughout the semester we'll be considering what happens to narrative when it moves from its original medium to another.


Midterm Examination / 15%
Two Narrative Assignments / 30%
Long Essay (8-10 pages) / 25%
Final Examination / 20%
In-class writing, attendance, etc. / 10%



More than two unexcused absences prior to midpoint will result in your being dropped from the roll. After three absences over the course of the semester, your final grade will be negatively effected. I also expect you to come to class on time; late arrivals will be noted.


You must order the editions listed below. If there is an ePub available PUBLISHED BY THE SAME PRESS AND WITH THE SAME EDITORIAL APPARATUS, you may order an ePub, Kindle Book, Nook Book, iBook, etc. Indeed, we will be examining the shift to digital texts during the semester, so I would actually encourage you to purchase at least one of our novels as an ePub.

Michael McKeon, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-0801863974

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Norton Critical, ISBN-13: 9780393962949

Jo Baker, Longbourn, Vintage, ISBN 9780345806970

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Norton Critical, ISBN 978-0-393-97542-0

Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, Norton Critical, ISBN 978-0-393-97862-9

Ian McEwan, Atonement, Knopf Doubleday, ISBN-13 9780385721790

Toni Morrison, A Mercy, Vintage, ISBN 978-0307276766

Jean Rhys, The Wide Sargasso Sea, Norton Critical, ISBN 978-0-393-96012-9

Colm TóibínBrooklyn, Scribner, ISBN-13: 2901439148951

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN-13: 9780156628709

Makeup Policy

I will not give make-up exams or accept late essays. If a pressing emergency arises, please contact me prior to the due date, if at all possible.