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*    The English Novel--Spring 2012   


Dr. Brian Reed                                                            Spring 2012

Class Time: MWF 1:00-2:30 OLD MAIN 205          Phone: x-3347

Office Hrs:  MWF 8:00-9:00                                      email: breed@mercyhurst.edu

                     TTh  8:00-9:30


Required Texts:

Fielding, Henry.  Tom Jones – (Oxford)

Edgeworth, Maria. Castle Rackrent – (Oxford)

Sterne, Laurence.  Tristram Shandy – (Oxford)

Three Gothic Novels: Including The Castle of Otranto and Vathek - (Dover)

Gaskell, Elizabeth.  Cranford - (Oxford)

Eliot, George. Adam Bede - (Oxford)

Woolf, Virginia.  Mrs. Dalloway – (Harcourt)

Feach student will also be assigned one additional critical work, which they will give a short presentation on to the class and will also use as source material for their final essay and panel presentation project.


Course Description:

This is a seminar course designed to explore the recent theories and discussions surrounding the “rise of the English novel” and the novel’s development as the dominant literary form we know today.  By looking at a short, yet representative list of English novels from the eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, we will consider the historical contexts of each work as we attempt to understand how political considerations, gender, class, commodity culture, and/or the developing notion of the profession of authorship impacts each work.   Students will be required to do a good deal of reading for this class as many of the great English novels are quite lengthy.  Each student will also read one book length piece of criticism that will provide insight into our readings.  This is also a class where students will become authorities on particular novels and critical works; therefore, class discussions will not only be student centered, but they will also be (no doubt) quite lively and engaging. 


Course Objectives:

Students in this course should gain a general knowledge of major representative English novelists and their particular themes, styles, plots, and characters.  They should also become familiar with the development of particular genres, narrative techniques, and movements.  During class discussions and in their written projects students will be able to apply the work of a particular critic and a particular approach to a chosen work.  As in all seminars, students will refine their critical thinking skills, their ability to synthesize materials, their writing and research expertise, their strengths as a presenter, and their ability to analyze great literature and apply it to their understanding of the world.


Learning Differences:

In keeping with college policy, any student with a disability who needs academic accommodations (and who is not already in the Learning Differences Program) should call the Learning Differences Program secretary at 824-3017 to arrange a confidential appointment with the director of the Learning Differences Program during the first week of classes. 


Oral Presentations:

Each student will do two oral presentations during the course of the term.  One presentation we will refer to as the Discussion Opening, where the student will spend about 10 minutes presenting recent scholarship on the author and/or work, some analysis of the text, or general observations about the readings for that day’s class.  This will be followed by three discussion questions which will be written on the board for the class to ponder.  In the second report, which we will refer to as the Critic Presentation, the student will present an overview of a recent book length study of the English novel or issues related to the same. (A list of critical works is attached to this syllabus.) This 10 minute report will show what importance this critical work has for the novels we are reading and will include a handout of key passages for the class to consider. 


Essay and Panel Project:

Part of the subject of the final essay as well as the fodder for the final panel discussion will be the same critical work the student researched in the Critic Presentation.  During the last weeks of class students will present their final essays in conference panels for a wider audience.


Attendance, Participation, and Late Papers:

I expect students to be in class on time for each class session.  If students miss a class, they are responsible for what was missed. As this is a seminar, students will help decide the direction of the discussions.  Therefore, active and consistent participation is essential for the fullest success of the class and for students to have a satisfactory participation grade. Late papers will receive one letter grade deduction for each weekday that they are late. 



Plagiarism is a very serious matter.  Insufficient documentation or submitting someone else’s work as one’s own may result in failure.  Come and see me if there are any questions.

            The breakdown for grades is as follows:

Participation 10%
            Reading Quizzes 10%

Discussion Opening 10%

Critic Presentation 10 %

Essay 20%

Panel Presentation 5%

Midterm 15%

Final 20%

The Syllabus:


Week 1            M         Mar 5               Introduction:  Terry Eagleton “What is a Novel”

W        Mar 7               Tom Jones – 95
                        F          Mar 9               Tom Jones-228

Week 2            M         Mar 12             Tom Jones -417
                        W        Mar 14             Tom Jones-592

                        F          Mar 16             Tom Jones-685


Week 3            M         Mar 19             Tom Jones- end
                        W        Mar 21             Castle Rackrent-all

F          Mar 23             Tristram Shandy – 86


Week 4            M         Mar 26             Tristram Shandy- 226
                        W        Mar 28             Tristram Shandy-327

F          Mar 30             REED AT CONFERENCE

Week 5            M         April 2             Tristram Shandy-433
                        W        April 4             Tristram Shandy –end
                        F          April 6             EASTER BREAK


Week 6            M         April 9             EASTER BREAK
                        W        April 11           MIDTERM EXAM
F          April 13           The Castle of Otranto –all


Week 7            M         April 16           Vathek-all
                        W        April 18           Cranford-111

                        F          April 20           Cranford-end

Week 8            M         April 23           Adam Bede – 124
                        W        April 25           Adam Bede-246

                        F          April 27           Adam Bede-367

Week 9            M         April 30           Adam Bede -end

W        May 2              Mrs. Dalloway- 102

F          May 4              Mrs. Dalloway – end


Week 10          M         May 7              Wrap Ups – Clean Ups- Panel Planning

                        W        May 9              Start Panel Presentations ESSAYS DUE

                        F          May 11            Finish Panel Presentations


Final Exam to be scheduled during finals week


This syllabus is subject to change


A List of works for the Critic Presentation


 *Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957.


 *Lynch, Deidre Shauna. The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning. (1998).


*Spacks, Patricia Meyer.  Desire and Truth: Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century Novels. (1990).


*McKeon, Michael. The Origins of the English Novel 1600-1740. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1987.  


*Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar.  The Madwoman in the Attic.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1984.


Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia UP, 1985


*Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody’s Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670-1820. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.


Poovey, Mary. Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1988.


*Butler, Judith.  Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.


*Marcus, Sharon. Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England. (2007)


*Moglen, Helene. The Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel. (2001)


*Armstrong, Nancy.  Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. New York: Oxford UP, 1987. 


*Flint, Christopher. Family Fictions: Narrative and Domestic Relations in Britain, 1688-1798. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998.

Vrettos, Athena. Somatic Fictions: Imagining Illness in Victorian Culture. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995.

Beer, Gillian. Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. London: Ark , 1985.


*Sill, Geoffrey M. The Cure of the Passions and the Origins of the English Novel. (2001).

*Stallybrass, Peter, and Allon White. The Politics and Poetics of Transgression. Ithaca, New York: Cornell UP, 1986.

Castle, Terry. Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture and Fiction. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1986.


*Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality Vol I: An Introduction.  New York: Vintage, 1978.


Omalley, Patrick R.  Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture. (2006)


*Bellamy, Liz. Commerce, Morality, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (2002).


*Lynch, Deidre Shauna. The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning. (1998)


Eagleton, Terry. Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary Theory (1978)


*Lovell, Terry. Consuming Fiction. London: Verso, 1987