Last updated:
September 1, 2016

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Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 360D
Phone: 813-974-9496

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    LIT 6236
    18th Century Novel and Theory

    Fall 2016
    Time: Thursday 3:30-6:15 pm
    CPR 257

  • Assignments
  • Related Sites
  • Paper Guidelines
  • Library Guide to Eighteenth-century Resources

    Course bibliography

    Course Description

    This course examines the emergence of the novel as a genre in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by focusing on novelistic experiments and a few exemplary novels. The course also explores digital archives and tools that allow us to analyze historical texts with a focus on print culture and material production. The guiding questions for our investigation of this material include:

    • What makes a novel a novel? What are the characteristics unique to the form? How does it relate to forms previous and subsequent?

    • How do new forms of technology lead to new forms of writing?

    • How do new audiences shape the novel?

    • What is the ideology of the novel and how is it related to gender, class, empiricism, slavery or global trade?

    Students will engage in archival research (digital and physical), weekly writing, hands-on in-class research and creative activities, and develop an independent research essay of conference presentation length. This course fulfills the 18th Century distribution and theory-rich requirements and students may produce an MA pre-1900 portfolio paper.

    Students taking this for PhD credit will be expected to produce an annotated bibliography accompanying an article length (ca. 7500 words) critical essay on a topic related to the course. This will also satisfy their final project assignment.

    This course has been designed to meet the following objectives:

  • To trace and discover what the early British novel looks like and does by exploring digital databases, such as EEBO, ECCO, and by visiting USF Libraries Special Collections;

  • To examine theories of the novel in England, including origins and print culture/history;

  • To introduce and practice computational methods of analysis current in digital humanities;

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

Required Texts

    Novel Definitions: An Anthology of Commentary on the Novel, 1688-1815, ed. Cheryl L. Nixon (Broadview 2009) ISBN 978-1-55111-646-4

    Popular Fiction by Women 1660-1730, ed. John Richetti and Paula Backscheider (Oxford UP, 1997) ISBN-10: 0198711379; ISBN-13: 978-0198711377

    Samuel Richardson, Pamela ed. Thomas Keymer, Alice Wakley (Oxford World Classics) 2008; ISBN-10: 019953649X; ISBN-13: 978-0199536498

    Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrew and Shamela, ed. Judith Hawley (Penguin Classics) 1999, ISBN-10: 0140433864; ISBN-13: 978-0140433869

    Frances Burney, Cecilia ed. Peter Sabor and Margaret Anne Doody (Oxford Classics) 2009, 2009 ISBN-10: 019955238X; ISBN-13: 978-0199552382

    Students should bring laptops to class; we will be doing research in digital collections.

Recommended Texts

    Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, ed. Michael McKeon (Johns Hopkins, 2000) ISBN-10 080186397X, ISBN 13 978-0801863974

Electronic Media

This class will be interacting with the Canvas website for ENL6236.901, to be located on your MY USF website.

We will be using discussions, assignments, modules, collaborations and possibly other tools from this 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.

We may use other social media in this class, such as Twitter. For posting on this class, please use #18Cnovel; I can be found @laura_runge.

18thConnect: Eighteenth-century Scholarship Online: This is an online organization for eighteenth-century texts and scholarship. I will ask you to join so that you can create objects and participate in some of the activities I will design.

Voyant Tools: Very powerful tool for conducting text analysis and visualizations

Eighteenth-century Book Tracker an archive built by Ben Pauley to assist with full-text searches of eighteenth-century books in Google books and Internet Archive.

Google N-gram Viewer check out the trends in books from the eighteenth century to today. Play with it.

There are many digital resources that we will be using in this class. A list can be found here.


Throughout I have made links to notes and discussion questions from a previous class on this material. This is for your information and enjoyment. It is not part of your assignment.

Pre-reading: Please read Terry Eagleton's chapter "What is a Novel," from his The English Novel Blackwell, 2005. A PDF is located on Canvas.

Experimental Prose Fiction: How the Novel Starts

Aug 25 Class 1: Introduction to Research in the 18thC Digital Archive:
    Introduce Archives - EEBO and ECCO - search for and select sample early novel; Discuss Eagleton.

Sept 1 CANCELLED FOR WEATHER Class 2: Archive Presentations -- a form with no direction
    Please finish reading and upload assignment as planned. Prepare PDF of your sample early novel to share and write up of early novel
    Theory: Nixon, Introduction (15-57);
    Spedding, "'The New Machine': Discovering the Limits of ECCO" (PDF course docs);
    Janine Barchas, from Graphic Design, Print Culture and the Eighteenth-century Novel (PDF course docs).

    DUE: Archive Presentation (upload to Canvas) and bring in presentation materials to class share all or part of your paper on the canvas discussion board for this class.

Sept 8 Class 3: Origins of the English Novel - Book history in the archive
This class meets in the USF Library 125D at 3:30.

    Novel: Behn's History of a Nun, in Bachscheider and Richetti
    Theory: Watt (363-381) and McKeon (382-397) in McKeon. See Notes part 1 and Notes 2 for outlines of McKeon's full argument.
    Also Rambler #4 (Nixon, 148-152)

    To make up for the lost class, we will compress discussion of reading materials from Class 2 and 3. Please see Canvas for assignment of posts.
    DUE: Post #1

Sept 15 Class 4:Early Women Writers
    Backscheider and Richetti- Intro, Jane Barker, Penelope Aubin and Elizabeth Singer Rowe;
    Full version of Rowe, Elizabeth Singer. Friendship in death. In twenty letters from the dead to the living. London, MDCCXXVIII. [1728]. (found in Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of South Florida)
    Theory: Paula Backscheider, "Positioning Rowe's Fiction," from Elizabeth Singer Rowe and the Development of the English Novel pdf in Canvas.

    DUE: Post #2

Sept 22 Class 5: Early Women Writers (2)
    Backscheider and Richetti - Haywood and Davys
    See the 18th c version- Eliza Haywood, Fantomina (found in Haywood, Eliza Fowler. Secret histories, novels and poems. In four volumes. Written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood. Vol. Volume 3.The second edition. London, M.DCC.XXV. [1725]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of South Florida.)
    Theory: Bowers, King (PDF in Canvas)

    DUE: Post #3

Sept 29 Class 6: History, Data and the Novel
    Bring Laptops to class

    Theory: Moretti, "Style, Inc. Reflections on Seven Thousand Titles (British Novels, 1740-1850)" Critical Inquiry 6.1 (Autumn 2009): 134-58;
    Matthew Wilkens, "Canons, Close Reading, and the Evolution of Method," Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew Gold. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2012;
    James Raven, "Historical Introduction: The Novel Comes of Age" The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction published in the British Isles. Vol. 1 1770-1799 ed. James Raven, Antonia Forster (Oxford UP 2000), 15-121.

    Begin Data Mining Project using Voyant and Intelligent Archive

    DUE: Post #4

Consolidation in Print Culture

Oct 6 Class 7: Pamela
    Read volume 1, through p. 219
    Theory: from Nixon (TBA)

    DUE: Post #5

Oct 13 Class 8: Pamela
    Read volume 2 (through p. 503, plus appendices if desired)
    Theory: Armstrong (in McKeon)

    DUE: Post #6

Oct 20 Class 9: Data Mining Presentations and Fielding's Shamela
Oct 27 Class 10: Fielding's Joseph Andrews
    Read Books I and II
    Theory: Nixon, TBA

    DUE: Post #7 and Midterm Letter to the instructor via email write a mid-term course evaluation assessing what you are learning, what you wish you were learning, what you would like to see happen in the second half of the semester and how the instructor can help you.

Nov 3 Class 11: Joseph Andrews
    Finish JA
    Theory: McDowell, "Why Fanny Can?t Read?" (Blackwell, PDF course docs)

    DUE: Post #8

What the Novel Becomes

Nov 10 Class 12:
    Read Vols 1-2 (pp 1-320)
    Theory: Nixon, TBA (morals, Evelina, etc)

    DUE: Post #9

Nov 19 Class 13: Cecilia
Nov 24 Class 14: Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec 1 Class 15: Cecilia

    Read vol 5

    DUE: Post #11

Final Projects are due one week from the last day of class (Dec. 8) unless you make other arrangements with the instructor.

Graded Assignments

Weekly posts 20%

Participation (Includes in-class writings) -- 10%

Archive Project (2-3 pages) -- 10%

Group Data Mining Project (3-5 pages including figures) -- 20%

Final Project options -- 40%

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.

** Students in need of academic accommodations for a disability may consult with Students with Disabilities Services to arrange appropriate accommodations. Students are required to give reasonable notice prior to requesting an accommodation.

** USF is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence (USF System Policy 0-004). The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention is a confidential resource where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to either the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR) or the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that in compliance with Title IX and under the USF System Policy, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, in papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it to OSSR or DIEO for investigation. Contact the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention: (813) 974-5757.

Description of Graded Assignments

Weekly Posts:

Students are responsible for writing a weekly blog post on our Canvas discussion page. These posts should be informal explorations of the material assigned for the class, including theory, fiction and possibly digital sites. Your post should address the larger questions that are guiding this course (See course description). Students should practice the skills of argumentative reasoning, close reading, synthesis of ideas, and inquiry. For example, students should address the argument of a theoretical reading or a significant feature of a novel, include appropriate quotations with analysis, draw comparisons with other sources we have read, and raise questions for further discussion. These are practice pieces, meant to create a discursive community in the course, and to further our discussion of the eighteenth-century novel. You should notice improvement in your ability to write these posts as the semester progresses. You will be graded on effort on an S/U basis. I will address your posts during class discussion (and therefore they cannot be late or made-up if missed). I will contact you only if the posts do not meet minimum requirements.

Minimum requirements -- submit a 250-500 word post by Wednesday at midnight the night before class.


Throughout the course you will be asked to participate in activities during class that involve group work, independent research, writing and discussion. Your participation in these activities is essential for reaching the outcomes of the class. You will need to be present in order to participate, and so any missed classes will detract from your participation grade. You will need to be prepared by having read the assigned material and having completed the assigned research or writing. You should have a laptop available for writing and researching during class. We will be learning how to use digital archives and databases that include 17th and 18th century fictional narratives and contemporary digital communities, such as 18th Connect.

Archive Project (2-3 page paper)

On the first day of class, we will practice searching for novels in pre-1700 archives (EEBO) to learn what a novel looked like in its earliest stages. Each student will be asked to identify what he or she thinks is a novel by the end of class. Before the next class, you will download a pdf of your "novel" and read it. You will prepare a 2-3 page paper describing what your novel is like.
Questions you should address include:

  • What is your novel called? Is the title different on the title page than in EEBO?
  • What does the title page tell us about it?
  • Where is it published? (Can you locate it on a map of 18thC London?)
  • What is the subject of the novel? Provide a brief summary.
  • What narrative strategies seem to be at work?


  • What made you decide this was a novel?
  • How does this differ from novels of the nineteenth century or twentieth century? How does it differ from fiction now?
  • What is unique or strange about your work?
  • What questions arise from your example?
  • What questions arise from the collective process?

This is the basis of your first writing assignment due Sept. 1.

Data Mining Project (3-5 pages)

We will be reading several articles that involve a method of researching in the digital humanities called data mining or corpus analysis. The object of this project is to get you thinking of new questions we can ask when our texts are digitized, tagged and encoded. We have several archives available for searching, including those accessible through Voyant and 18thConnect. Lesley Brooks has prepared a corpus of texts by Eliza Haywood that I will give each of you to download. We will use this as a practice corpus for our researches. In class we will practice searching, and you will dream up a small data mining project based in the texts we have for this class. For example, a simple one would be what words are most common in an early text by Haywood compared to a later text? What changes in word frequency do we see in different genres? By different writers? Is there a consistency in word usage among female authors? This type of exercise opens up new questions for us, and you will be asked to venture into these new inquiries. In groups of two or three, students will design a data mining search, explain the rationale, conduct the research, visualize the data and analyze it for us. Students will present results in class briefly. In order to receive full credit (that is, the full grade earned by the paper and presentation) there must be evidence of participation in the planning, execution, analysis, creation of the documents and presentation. I will ask each student to write individually a self and group evaluation of the project. Due: October 20

Final Project

Students should meet with me by November 1 to discuss a plan for their final project. The most common way to satisfy this requirement is to write a 10-12 page (3000-3600 word) research paper that builds upon research from the class; other options include building a research informed website for one of the authors that can be peer-reviewed; completing a text correction for 18thConnect using Typewright; or for our MFA students, a creative adaptation of an eighteenth-century novel with a pedagogical exercise. Each final project must include a cover letter of no more than 900 words that describes your project, your goals in attempting it; what you learned from completing it, and any future plans you have for it.

Please note: The Writing Studio is available for graduate students. For free assistance with written assignments and class projects, consider making an appointment at the Writing Studio, located on the second floor of the main library. The Studio is staffed by graduate teaching assistants from across the University who are trained in writing and communication. They can help you with strategies for developing and researching topics, writing drafts, organizing ideas, and revising assignments and journal submissions. To see writing consultantsí professional biographies, make an appointment, or discover online writing resources, please visit Writers can also schedule appointments in person or by calling (813) 974-8293.

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