Thomas Frank Lockwood
Seminar study of special topics in language and literary study. Limited to seniors majoring in English.
The Rise of the Novel: Richardson and Fielding
A seminar reading of two great novelists of the English eighteenth century. The vivid fictional “histories” Richardson and Fielding produced between 1740 and 1750 made those years the most brilliant and decisive decade in the history of the English novel. All this began with Richardson’s strangely ridiculous but compelling story of Pamela, which in turn called forth Fielding’s rude burlesque Shamela and then Joseph Andrews. The same pattern of collaborative antagonism and rivalry appeared in 1747 with Richardson’s great work Clarissa, followed then by Fielding’s Tom Jones. And there is our reading: a lot!—but I have a plan for covering the texts part of the time slowly and intensively, part of the time faster and more swimmingly. We read the whole of the amazing Clarissa: a serious undertaking but a powerfully absorbing experience once you surrender to it, like being abducted by aliens. We will give due consideration also to the critical topic of the so-called rise of the novel, as understood both then and now. Some points of emphasis from the social and cultural period history will be sex, marriage, class relations, and law. No background in the period literature assumed. (Open as senior seminar to undergraduate students by permission of professor.) Please feel free to get in touch with me for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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