Last updated:
Jan. 9, 2002

Back to Home

Courses and Syllabi

Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 358N
Phone: 813-974-9469

Contact Me
with questions,

Description of Assignments

For ENL 6236 -- Spring 2002

Class List-serv

    Click for general information on weekly posts to the list-serv. Specific instructions for graduate students are as follows:

    Each post must respond to the paper for the week, which is due by Friday evening. (In the extremely unlikely event that someone fails to post his or her paper, your post should thoughtfully respond to the reading and the questions I have posted to the web.)

    In case of server malfunction, bring a hardcopy of your post to my office or my mailbox by Tuesday noon.

    Consequently, the weekly writings will be composed between Saturday morning and Monday night each week - please schedule time.

    Read the posts of your classmates before composing your post (obviously, not everyone will be able to do this in entirety.) Contribute something original to the discussion, even if it is only a relevant question. As you will discover, I believe the key to learning is asking the right questions.

    You can use the questions and notes that I post to the web as a resource for your writing.

    While the posts are informal, you will be graded on content. Using a scale of 1-3, each post will be graded as weak, adequate, or strong. Posts which are not received by the morning of the class will receive 0 points.

    You will be responsible for reading ALL the posts before class discussion, even if (especially if) you posted early.

Book Review 3-5 pages

    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. 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 bind the class reviews in a booklet for all class members.

Reception essay 5-7 pages

    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, nineteenth centuries. Proper citations and bibliography are necessary.

    These essays should be submitted electronically via the list-serve 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 body of the email text 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.

    *** In case of server malfunction, a hardcopy of the essay of the week should be placed in the envelope on my door by Monday morning, to be available for students to photocopy on their own.

Take-home Essay

    In lieu of an in-class final exam, you will be required to complete a culminating essay on one or more course themes. The substance and guidelines for this assignment will be determined later in the semester.

Extended Description for Reception Essays

    Each week a student will submit a formal essay to discuss in class. The paper will be distributed via the list-serv. For additional leads on research resources, see my 18th Century Research Resources list.

Papers for Theorists

    Essays on the four theorists should evaluate the critical reception of the works assigned, surveying selected reviews of them.

    Your search should begin with The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography (ECCB) found in the reference section of the library: Z6204. E35. Our library does not carry the early series for ECCB, and so I have provided some citations for Watt that should get you started. Warner's book will not be sufficiently covered, because this reference lags behind several years. For him, I have provided some initial citations, but do some digging on your own and cover the major journals, including English Literary History (ELH), Eighteenth-Century Studies (ECS), Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP), Modern Language Notes (MLN), Restoration, Novel, also South Atlantic Review (SAR).

    The point is to get a general sense of the reception of these works and to evaluate the critical reaction. You need not search exhaustively for every review.


    • MLN LXXII, Dec. 1957 (Charles B. Woods)
    • Yale Review, XLVI no. 4
    • Modern Philology, LV (Alan D. McKillop)

    See also Watt's "Serious Reflections" Novel 1 (1968); Daniel Schwarz "The Importance of Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel" Journal of Narrative Technique 13 (Spring 1983) 59-73; and Robert Folkenflik's "The Heirs of Ian Watt" ECS 25.2 (Winter 91-2) 203. Much of the Winter 2000 volume of Eighteenth-Century Novel is devoted to Watt, and so a perusal of some of these essays will be necessary.


    • Choice vol 36, Jan 99, p. 892
    • TLS Dec. 18, 1998, p. 21
    • Albion vol 31, Winter 99, p. 657
    • MLN vol 114, Dec. 99, p. 1130
    • RES vol. 51 May 00, p. 290

    Recommended for all:

    • Schwarz "The Importance of Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel" see above.
    • Homer Obed Brown's "Of the Title to Things Real: Conflicting Stories" ELH 55 (1989) 917-954.
    • Laura Runge's chapter "Paternity and regulation in the feminine novel" in Gender and Language in British Literary Criticism, 1660-1790 (Cambridge UP, 1997) pp. 80-120.

Essays on Novels:

    These papers will focus on the publication and reception of the work itself, critically presenting any relevant background that you find particularly useful. Many of these works have interesting and controversial histories, frequently noted in the introductions to the editions we are reading. Provide as much bibliographical information as you can find (original publisher(s), date(s), runs, and popularity; contemporary responses; controversies it gives rise to; sequels, parodies, major changes in later editions, etc.). Offer a sense of the novel's reception and critical history. There are reference series that will aid you, in particular the Critical Heritage series by Routlege. For some of the early works by women, however, you will have to rely on the most recent scholarship for any information. When the class is focused on more than one work, choose one and offer a summary of the major points of significance.

Related Bibliography and Book Review List

Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

Bakhtin, M. M. The Dialogic Imagination, (Austin: U of Texas Press, 1985)

Bender, John, Imagining the Penitentiary: Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in Eighteenth Century England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987)

Brown, Homer Obed, Institutions of the English novel from Defoe to Scott (Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c1997).

Castle, Terry, Masquerade and civilization : the carnivalesque in eighteenth-century English culture and fiction (Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1986)

Davis, Lennard. Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).

Donovan, Josephine. Women and the Rise of the Novel, 1405-1726 (New York: St. Martins Press, 1999).

Gallagher, Catherine, Nobody's story : the vanishing acts of women writers in the marketplace, 1670-1820 (Berkeley : University of California Press, c1994).

Johnson, Claudia, Equivocal Beings: politics, gender, and sentimentality in the 1790s : Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1995.)

Lanser, Sue, Fictions of Authority : Women Writers and Narrative Voice (Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992).

London, April. Women and Property in the Eighteenth-Century English Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Lynch, Diedre. The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

Nussbaum, Felicity, The Autobiographical Subject: Gender and Ideology in Eighteenth-Century England (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1989)

Poovey, Mary, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).

Ross, Deborah. The Excellence of Falsehood: Romance, Realism and Women's Contribution to the Novel (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1991).

Skinner, Gillian. Sensibility and Economics in the Novel, 1740-1800 (London: Macmillan Press, 1999).

Spencer, Jane, Rise of the Woman Novelist: from Aphra Behn to Jane Austen (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986).

Todd, Janet, The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction 1660-1800 (New York: Columbia UP, 1989).

Back to ENL 6236