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HS Inventing the Novel : Course Description

Course Description ^top


subject area: English literature
language: English
reading: A. Behn, Oroonoko, or, The Royal Slave(1688); D. Defoe, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719); S. Richardson, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740, excerpts); H. Fielding, An Apology for the Life of Mrs Shamela Andrews (1741), Joseph Andrews, or, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adam (1742); F. Burney, Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World (1778)
recommended literature:
Paul Cobley, Narrative. London and New York: Routledge, 2001 [New Critical Idiom].
Brean Hammond and Shaun Regan. Making the Novel. Fiction and Society in Britain, 1660-1789. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
Richetti, John J. (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Cambridge, et al.: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

portrait Fanny Burney

It is a resilient critical myth that the novel was 'invented' (or launched) with the publication of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe in 1719. In this course, we will investigate the 'invention' of the novel, but we will start a little earlier, with Aphra Behn's Oroonoko (1688), a text that can be read as a romance, but also anticipates the novel. We will look into the development and theory of the genre and then focus on key texts (Robinson Crusoe, Pamela - and Shamela, Evelina, Joseph Andrews). At the same time, we will situate the novel in its critical and cultural contexts (such as slave trade, colonialism, and gender) and analyse the genre conventions (a realistic depiction of middle class life, the bildungsroman, and the picaresque novel) of the early novel.
All course members are expected to join an expert group that is responsible for the structure of one session.

illustrations Pamela Shamela

Reading List ^top


You should be aware that attending this course entails a heavy reading load. You should therefore have finished reading at least (!) Oroonoko and Robinson Crusoe by the beginning of summer term (preferably more).
We will cover the primary texts in the following order:
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, or, The Royal Slave (1688)
    Norton Critical Edition: ed. Joanna Lipking, ISBN 0393970140
  • Daniel Defoe, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719)
    Norton Critical Edition: ed. Michal Shinagel, ISBN 0393964523
  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740, excerpts)
  • Henry Fielding, An Apology for the Life of Mrs Shamela Andrews (1741)
  • Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews, or, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adam (1742)
    Norton Critical Edition: ed. Home Goldberg, ISBN 0393955559 (includes Shamela)
  • Frances Burney, Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World (1778)
    Norton Critical Edition ed. Stewart J. Cooke, ISBN 0393971589