The Rise of the Novel
Professor David Richter
Monday, 4:15 to 6:15
NOTE THAT THE
FOLLOWING IS MY 2008 SYLLABUS; THERE WILL BE CHANGES, BUT NOT GIGANTIC ONES.
During the "long eighteenth century"
(1660-1830), most of the major innovations in both subject matter and narrative
technique take shape. At its beginning the art of fiction often involves
the close imitation of true narratives, while at its end fictional narrative
both competes with and contributes to the writing of historical narrative.
Throughout the period, form (in the sense of aesthetic ideology) exerts intense
pressure upon content, while content (the social and sexual conflicts of the
period, along with the growing force of nationality) exerts a counterpressure
upon literary form. We shall read some of these most important canonical texts
within and against the culture that formed them, a culture that took its own
shape, at least in part, from the rise of the novel. In addition to exploring
the narratives of the eighteenth century, we will also explore another set of
narratives, the works of literary history in which scholars from the past fifty
years have attempted to explain the origins of the English novel. Ian Watt's The
Rise of the Novel (1957) was the master narrative against which recent
literary historiographers have staged their own histories, including Michael
McKeon, Ralph Rader, Lennard Davis, Catherine Gallagher, Nancy Armstrong, and
Margaret Doody. We shall also be examining essays from The Rise of the Novel
Revisited, the special issue of Eighteenth-Century Fiction published
For information about the editions ordered, please click HERE
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave, 1688.
Eliza Haywood: Love in Excess, 1719
Daniel Defoe, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders,
Samuel Richardson, Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded, 1740.
Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews, 1742.
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.,
Frances Burney, Evelina, or The History of a Young Lady's Entrance into
the World, 1777.
William Godwin, Things as They Are, or Caleb Williams, 1794.
Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent, 1800.
Walter Scott, Waverley
or 'Tis Sixty Years Since, 1814.
Jane Austen, Mansfield
The Mystery Novel: One additional novel, either Smollett's Humphry
Clinker or a gothic like Radcliffe's Romance of the Forest, will be
added at the organizational meeting, and I think we'll be able to find the
books without too much trouble, since we will have another eight or more weeks
before it comes up.
For specific information about chapters assigned or recommended, please
For a more elaborate bibliography on the particular novels we will be
studying click HERE
GENERAL SOURCES on RESERVE in MINA REES:
Ian Watt: The Rise of the Novel (1957)
Michael McKeon: The Origin of the English Novel (1987)
Ralph Rader: "Defoe, Richardson, Joyce, and the Concept of Form in the
Novel" (1974) and "The Emergence of the Novel in England: Genre
in History vs. History of Genre" (1993) and following dialogue with
Lennard J. Davis Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel.
Nancy Armstrong: Desire and Domestic Fiction (1987).
Janet Todd: The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction 1660-1800
J. Paul Hunter: Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of
Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (1990)
Catherine Gallagher: Nobody's Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers
in the Marketplace 1670-1820 (1995; or the MLA paper that was originary
essay of this book).
Homer Obed Brown: Institutions of the English Novel. (1997)
Margaret Doody: The True Story of the Novel (1997).
William Beatty Warner: Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading 1687-1750
Laura Brown: Fables of Modernity (2001).
Lisa Freeman: "Allegories in and of Narrative," MLA 2001 Paper.
In addition we shall be reading essays taken from Reconsidering The Rise
of the Novel, the Winter 2000 special issue of Eighteenth-Century
For the class schedule, including who is scheduled for oral reports on which
dates, please click HERE.
Oral report and term paper for 4-credit students, just oral report together
with wonderful attendance and participation for 2-credit students.
My office is in 4105, phone there is 817-8330. I'll also be
in on Fridays and can make it in on other days except Wednesdays, when I will
be at Queens College. My Queens College
phone is 718-997-4684. I also have a listed home phone if you need to get in
touch with me. My home email address is firstname.lastname@example.org