Course Instructor Days Times Room


This course fulfills the pre-1800 requirement and can also count toward the area emphasis in the novel. Our class meets in Park Hall 250.

The Other Eighteenth-Century Novel

Conventional stories about the rise of the novel often emphasize formal realism as the most significant feature of the development of the novel in the eighteenth century. Together we will trouble the pages of this progress narrative by exploring how other forms of sophisticated fiction were as much a part of the novel’s emergence as the realist novel. In this class, we will focus on novels—largely drawn from the genres of amatory fiction, oriental tales, object narratives, novels of sensibility, and Gothic fiction—which seem to resist realism through their themes and structures. What does the other eighteenth-century novel reveal about the period’s fiction and culture? How do these narratives complicate the history of the novel? At the same time, we will use our readings to examine the emergence of the novel as an exuberant and experimental genre, and consider how it cannibalizes and reimagines different forms of writing such as diaries, romance, travel narratives, and drama. We’ll investigate how these novels contributed to the major literary and cultural shifts of the age (as well as beyond) by thinking about changes in print culture, colonialism, gender roles, the individual, and the public sphere.


3 papers; 1 final; responses; participation; quizzes


Please purchase these exact editions from the seller of your choice:

Daniel Defoe, Roxana (Oxford ISBN 9780192834591)
Francis Coventry, The History of Pompey the Little (Broadview ISBN 9781551117348)
Frances Burney, Evelina (Oxford, ISBN 9780192840318)
Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (Broadview ISBN 9781551114682)
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford ISBN 9780192834409)
Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (Oxford ISBN 9780192836663)

Makeup Policy

Late assignments receive a deduction of 5 points per day. There is no make-up final.