2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

The (Colonial) Rise of the British Novel

Spring quarter

Faculty: Trevor Speller British literature

Fields of Study: literature

Spring: CRN (Credit) Level 30312 (16) Jr - Sr; 30571 (1-16)  

Credits: 16(S)

Class Standing: Junior - Senior

Offered During: Day


What is a novel? How did this art form come to be? It is perhaps hard for us to imagine a world without novels, where poetry, drama, and non-fiction ruled the literary world. Grounded in British literature, this upper-division program will explore the rise of the novel. We will read examples ranging from speculative prose fiction in the seventeenth century to established and reputable examples of the novel in the mid-nineteenth century. We will consider the novel as both an art form that establishes a genre, and one that breaks genre boundaries.

One of the secondary considerations of the program will be what makes a novel "British." To what extent does this art form represent the values of particular people in Britain? Can the British novel be called a national - or nationalist - art form? Although we call these works "British novels," we might equally view them as an international art form, one concerned with the politics of colonialism, an emerging global empire, and the shadowy figures of those who live outside the British Isles. This intersection of colonialism, nationalism, and the emerging novel will be an important focus of our attention, as well as conflicting contemporary views around the rise of the novel.

In order to accomplish this, we will likely be reading works by Henry Neville, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, William Beckford, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Brontë. In addition to these novels, we will read excerpts from other novelistic works, critical views on the rise of the novel, and contemporary theory concerning literature and colonialism. By the end of the program, students will have a firm foundation in British literature, exposure to significant strands of literary theory, and experience with upper-division literary research.

Requirements: In this one-quarter, upper-division course, students will be asked to prepare a 20-minute in-class presentation, to lead class discussions, and to produce a long (15+ pp.) critical paper, in addition to regular minor assignments. Film versions of the texts will be shown as required. There is no signature requirement, but students are strongly encouraged to have taken previous courses in literature and/or the humanities, and to have previously written a paper of significant length (10 pp.) on a literary or historical topic. The best work in this course will be useful for graduate school applications.

Maximum Enrollment: 25

Required Fees: $50 for entrance fees.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: advanced studies or careers in literature, writing, and the humanities.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: No Required Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
January 11th, 2011 New program added.