21L.471 Major English Novels

Spring 2004

Charles Dickens portrait.
Charles Dickens. Photograph, J. Gurney & Son. 1867. Location: Biographical file. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ61-694. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Course Highlights

All exams and most of the readings used in the course may be downloaded.

Course Description

This course studies several important examples of the genre that between the early 18th century and the end of the 20th has come to seem the definitive literary form for representing and coming to terms with modernity. Syllabi vary, but the class usually attempts to convey a sense of the form's development over the past few centuries. Among topics likely to be considered are: developments in narrative technique, the novel's relation to history, national versus linguistic definitions of an "English" novel, social criticism in the novel, realism versus "romance," the novel's construction of subjectivities. Writers studied have included Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Lawrence Sterne, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Joseph Conrad, H. G. Wells, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Salman Rushdie.
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Prof. James Buzard

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session