WiSe 15/16: VS-Literary Studies: Periods-Genres-Concepts II: The Eighteenth Century Novel
The eighteenth century is generally regarded as the period in which the English novel as a literary genre first achieved wide popularity. Rapid changes in the social and political landscape, with ... read more
The eighteenth century is generally regarded as the period in which the English novel as a literary genre first achieved wide popularity. Rapid changes in the social and political landscape, with large numbers of people moving to urban centres such as London, the shift in the British economic base to trade and small business, and the associated rise of the middle-classes, the increasing secularisation of society, the commercialisation of English taste, all produced an anxiety about the onset of Modernity that found expression within the newly emerging form of the novel, in which stories focused no longer on ancient heroes and the unreal world of the medieval and Early Modern romance but rather on the quotidian world of ordinary people in recognisable social and cultural contexts. This course examines the key issues and concerns of the eighteenth-century novel, together with the ways in which the novel form came to be used as a means of teaching readers about social values in the newly emerging Modernity. Over the course of the semester students will read a selection of key texts in order to analyse the ways in which they variously interrogate issues such as the relation between individual and society; the increasing importance of the role of the emotions and the 'man of feeling'; and depictions of pleasure (sexual and material) in an age of increasing secularisation and anxiety over the fracturing of communities.
Fanny Burney. Evelina.
Daniel Defoe. Moll Flanders.
Henry Fielding. Tom Jones.
Samuel Richardson. Pamela.
A Course Reader will be made available on Blackboard prior the beginning of semester.