Thomas Frank Lockwood
Study of the development of this major and popular modern literary form in the eighteenth century. Readings of the best of the novelists who founded the form, and some minor ones, from Defoe to Fielding, Richardson, and Sterne, early Austen, and the gothic and other writers.
Two novels, but they are monsters: Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (1747-8) and Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (1749). These are the foundational texts of the modern English novel. Clarissa is an intense, harrowing tragedy of seduction, while Tom Jones is a panoramic comedy of social experience. One is inward and deeply personal; the other is expansively outward-looking and very funny. Both are brilliant masterpieces which set the terms and direction of fiction for the next 200 years. We will read them closely, and this is where you come in. Tom Jones is quite long, but Clarissa is massive--1500 closely printed pages. They make an amazing reading experience but BE WARNED--it will be very challenging, and if you can't keep up the reading pace (about 250 pages/week), with close attention, you will end up having to drop or fail. But it's great stuff!
Student learning goals
Mastery of two foundational texts in the early history of the modern novel.
Some understanding of social and cultural background.
Familiarity with relevant critical and theoretical questions about the early novel.
General method of instruction
Previous work in literature at 300 level helpful.
Class assignments and grading
Short response papers, quizzes, two exams.
Written work approximately 4/5; participation, improvement, 1/5.