Last updated:
April 12, 2007

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Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 301J
Phone: 813-974-9496

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    LIT 6236
    18th Century Novel and Theory

    This course has been designed to meet the following objectives:

  • To analyze the "distinctive literary features" of the novel as it appeared in England in the eighteenth century and to understand the critical questions surrounding the emergence of this genre

  • To examine several theories of the origins of the novel in England; to assess them and place them within a critical context

  • To analyze several exemplary novels from the period; to form critical opinions about their historical, cultural, literary and analytical merits

Required Texts

Ian Watt -- The Rise of the Novel (prerequisite)
Michael McKeon -- Origins of the English Novel
Richetti, Backscheider, eds. -- Popular Fiction by Women 1660-1730
William Warner -- Licensing Entertainment
Samuel Richardson -- Pamela
J. Paul Hunter -- Before Novels
Henry Fielding -- Joseph Andrews
Ruth Perry -- Novel Relations
Frances Burney -- Cecilia

Selected Readings from A Companion to The Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture, eds. Paula R. Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia (Blackwell, 2005)

Students should read the following essays early in the semester:

James Raven, "Historical Introduction: The Novel Comes of Age," in Raven and Antonia Forster, The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles Vol. 1: 1770-1799 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) pp. 15-121.

And Catherine Ingrassia, "Introduction," A Companion to The Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture, eds. Paula R. Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia (Blackwell, 2005). Both can be found on Reserve in the Library.

Electronic Media

For an general introduction to computing facilities and classes at USF, see USF Academic Computing Home Page.

This class will be interacting with the Blackboard website for ENL6236.001.S07, to be located on your MY USF website. To register and log in, visit .

You will find the discussion board for your weekly informal postings on this Blackboard site, and I will also post assignments, messages and further information about the class on this site. PLEASE CHECK IT FREQUENTLY.

My website: information on class, assignments and links to other important sites on literature, etc.

Other important websites will be listed in the schedule of reading and following the assignments.


Please note, individual class notes will be linked to the website at the date. These links will be updated weekly.
Day Date Class
T 1/9 Introductions and Watt's Rise of the Novel
T 1/16 McKeon, Intro & Part I (pp. 1-130)
T 1/23 McKeon, Part II (pp. 131-270); Reception: Nancy
T 1/30 Popular Fiction by Women Intro, Behn, Manley, Barker and Aubin
Reception: Anna
T 2/6 Popular Fiction by Women (Haywood, Davys)
Reception: Suzanne (Davys) and Marisa (Haywood)
T 2/13 Warner, complete
Reception: Susan
T 2/20 Pamela Vol. 1 (pp 1-278)
Reception: Jamie
T 2/27 Pamela Vols.2 (pp. 279-516)
Reception: Lina
T 3/6 Hunter, Parts I & II + one chap. of your choice from III;
Reception: Gary
T 3/20 Joseph Andrews (Intro, Books I-II)
Book Review Due
T 3/27 Joseph Andrews (Books III-IV)
Reception: Crystal
T 4/3 Perry, Novel Relations complete
Reception: Brian
T 4/10 Burney, Cecilia (Volumes 1 & 2, pp. 1-313)
T 4/17 Burney, Cecilia (Volumes 3 & 4, pp. 314-715)
T 4/24 Burney, Cecilia (Volumes 5, pp. 715-941)
Reception: Marie

Graded Assignments

Weekly posts 25%

Book Review (3-5 pages) due 3/19 -- 20%

Reception Essay (5 pages) -- 25%

Critical research essay (15 pages) -- 30%

This syllabus is subject to change.

** Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to the observation of a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.

Description of Graded Assignments

Weekly Posts:

For general description and specific requirements of this assignment, see my webpage on weekly posts. For each class, I will post a series of discussion questions and related information about the day’s reading. From this list, you can choose a question to focus your writing. Also, try to incorporate the ideas and observations made in other posts by your classmates. Also pay attention to the reception essay for that particular class. It is your responsibility to read the posts (and print them out if necessary) before class, so that we can use these ideas as the starting point for our class discussion.

Book Review

In order to incorporate a number of relevant recent critical books that treat the origins of the English novel, each student will select a title from the list provided and complete a brief book review. Please review the course bibliography for * items. The major intention of the assignment is to convey the content of the book in a way that connects that work to other recent novel theories. Students should aim to write a critical summary of the work. We will use the Blackboard Wiki site to post these reviews so that the entire class can benefit.

Reception Essay

Each member of the class will be responsible for one essay to be submitted to the class for response and discussion. Students who write on a theoretical work will provide an assessment of the critical reviews for that particular book. The object will be to convey a general sense of the critical reception of the book drawing on the major reviews. This need not be an exhaustive compilation. During the weeks when we will be discussing the novels, students will provide a bibliographical essay providing information on original publication and reception in the eighteenth and, when relevant, a critical history to the present. When we are discussing the novel over more than one class period, students will divide the responsibilities and decide the focus of his or her own paper beforehand. Proper citations and bibliography are necessary. These essays should be submitted electronically via a discussion board dedicated to that purpose on the Blackboard website. Please submit this by Friday evening before the class for which it is due. Do not wait until the last minute, and always be prepared with alternatives in case of electronic problems. I highly recommend that you post the paper in the message rather than as an attachment because not everyone has the same capacity to print attachments. The same paper is to be submitted in formatted hard copy to me by class time. These papers should be at least 5 pages and no longer than 6 pages.

Because much of the class discussion revolves around these papers, students will need adequate time to read and absorb the essay. Consequently papers which are not submitted by Friday evening will be marked down an entire letter grade for each day it is late. No exceptions.

For more information, see Reception Essay.

Critical Research Essay

The culmination of the course will be an independently research critical essay of fifteen pages. Your weekly writings, your book review and your critical reception paper should prepare you with numerous ideas relevant to current scholarship on the eighteenth-century novel and novel theories. Use these as the seed papers for an idea that is complex enough to sustain a critical argument of fifteen pages. Your model for this paper is a short, published scholarly article. In other words, you should situate your view within current scholarship and construct a careful argument based in textual analysis, criticism and current ideas. This will be due the last week of class.

You conduct further research by checking the library references I have provided in my list of “Eighteenth-century Reference and Research” This includes both online sources and indexes and materials housed in the reference section of the library. Call numbers are provided. Please note that there was some major shifting of reference materials in the spring and so I cannot guarantee the location of these items.

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