Course Instructor Days Times Room


This course approaches the eighteenth-century novel in its wide variety of form. Together, we’ll work our way through some of the most groundbreaking works in English literature. These novels changed the landscape of English fiction in their willingness to succeed and to fail, to argue, to shock, and to inspire. Along the way, we’ll think about the historical moment in which these novels were published, survey high points in the current critical landscape, and engage in lively debates about the ideas these novels find most fascinating. Featured authors include Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Frances Burney and Jane Austen.

We might find many of the aspects of the eighteenth-century novel unfamiliar during this moment in which experimentation in the novel form seems guaranteed. When we compare what we think we know about eighteenth-century novels to postmodern or contemporary novels, the eighteenth-century always seems to come up last. However, as we’ll explore in this class, the novels of the eighteenth century reveal themselves, upon pointed and thorough study, as experimental, cannibalistic, political, and scandalous.

Class participation is mandatory. Students will engage in class discussions, present on an aspect of a particular novel, complete short papers, and sit for a final exam.