Monday, January 24, 2011

Eighteenth-century comparative novel

This course encompasses a series of readings in the eighteenth-century European novel. Style, narratology, the “rise” of realism and the history of novel criticism will all figure in our discussions; the seminar offers a theoretical rather than a thoroughly historical survey, and should serve as groundwork for considering questions about style and the novel in other periods and national traditions.

The novels (available here):

Mme de Lafayette, The Princesse de Cleves (Penguin)
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Norton)
Prevost, Manon Lescaut (Oxford World’s Classics, hereafter “Oxford”)
Richardson, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford)
Sterne, Tristram Shandy (Penguin)
Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (Oxford)
Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist (Oxford)
Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Modern Library)
Rousseau, Confessions (Oxford)
Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons (Penguin)
De Sade, Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom and Other Writings (Grove)

The criticism:

Viktor Shklovsky, “The Novel as Parody,” in Theory of Prose (1929), trans. Benjamin Sher, intro. Gerald L. Bruns (Dalkey Archive Press, 1990), 147-170.

Samuel Johnson, Rambler No. 4.

Franco Moretti, from The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture, as excerpted in Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, ed. Michael McKeon (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000), 554-65.

Wayne Booth, “Telling as Showing: Dramatized Narrators, Reliable and Unreliable,” from The Rhetoric of Fiction, 2nd ed. (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 1983), 211-40.

Erich Auerbach, “Odysseus’ Scar,” from Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2003), 3-23.

Ian Watt, from The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding, as given in Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, ed. Michael McKeon (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000), 363-381.

Tzvetan Todorov, “Primitive Narrative” and “The Grammar of Narrative,” in The Poetics of Prose, trans. Richard Howard (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1977), 53-65, 108-119.

Tom Keymer, Richardson’s Clarissa and the Eighteenth-Century Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992), 1-15.

Gilles Deleuze, “Coldness and Cruelty,” in Masochism (New York: Zone Books, 1999).

Terry Eagleton, from Literary Theory: An Introduction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 91-126.

Gérard Genette, from Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method, transl. Jane E. Lewin (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1980), 212-262.

Mieke Bal, from Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, 2nd ed. (Toronto, Buffalo and London: U of Toronto P, 1997), 16-77.

Dorrit Cohn, from Transparent Minds: Narratives Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction, as excerpted in Theory of the Novel, ed. McKeon, 493-514.

Stephen M. Ross, from Fiction’s Inexhaustible Voice: Speech and Writing in Faulkner (Athens and London: U of Georgia P, 1989), 1-17.


  1. Now I'm wishing you had taught this a few years ago...

  2. I'm wishing I could come and learn this now.

  3. This is an incredible syllabus, Jenny. Hooray for Justine! You should have a blog site where your students can post thoughts, so we can follow.

  4. I'm not one for organized reading, but I'll admit that I'm tempted to print this and read through what I don't already know.

    After all, it's not really possible to get too much of the 18th century, right?

    {And the drama class is as tempting!}