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Lauren M Grant
ENGL 242
Seattle Campus

Reading Prose Fiction

Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.

Class description

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

In their essay collection, "The Ideology of Conduct," Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse argue that “…the literature of conduct and the conduct of writing known as literature share the same history. Both literature and conduct books, especially those written for women, in particular, strive to reproduce, if not always revise, the culturally approved forms of desire” (1). Our in class discussion of eighteenth and nineteenth-century British novels will use this claim as both a starting point, and an argument to be tested out throughout the quarter. What kind of woman is represented as ideal, or natural, in our novels? What kind of woman do our novel authors present as desirable? And what kind of man desires this ideal woman? What are the “culturally approved forms of desire” that this literature constructs?

Our primary texts will include selections from Eliza Haywood’s short fiction, Daniel Defoe’s "Moll Flanders," Samuel Richardson’s "Pamela," Jane Austen’s "Mansfield Park," and Charlotte Bronte’s "Villette." Our secondary readings will be available in a course pack.

In addition to a heavy reading load, this course requires significant student participation in our daily class discussions, and an in-class final exam. This course meets the “W” requirement. Students will write three short response papers and revise one into a longer, 5-7 page paper at the end of the quarter.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Lauren M Grant
Date: 04/27/2011