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    Vassar College
   
 
  Oct 17, 2017
 
 
    
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ENGL 247 - Eighteenth-Century British Novels


1 unit(s)


One of the major literary events of eighteenth-century England was the “rise” of the novel, as critics have long described it. But where do they imagine it rose from and to? In this course we will build a literary-historical context for asking this question by reading English prose fiction of the long eighteenth century, from Aphra Behn’s fictional slave narrative Oroonoko (1688) to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1811). In considering why the novel gained commercial and cultural popularity in this period, our main questions will include—how did the novel absorb and adapt existing literary genres, such as the drama, the diary, and the letter? How did writers of the period use prose fiction to make fresh explorations of sexual politics, identity and power? How did the priorities and techniques of realism interact with those of more stylized narrative modes, such as the gothic and the sentimental novel? Authors include Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Cleland, Sterne, Radcliffe, Lewis and Burney. 

 

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.



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