ENG321 201703 Undergraduate

Term: 
Spring 2018
Course: 
ENG 321
Applies To: 
Undergraduate
Department Course Description: 

The novel as we know it today did not exist until the early nineteenth century, the end point of this course. Before then, fictional prose narratives circulated in Britain under various labels, including “romance,” “history,” “true history” or “secret history,” as well as “novel.” Moreover, the divide between fact and fiction that we now know (or think we know) is not easy to find in some of these early narratives. The early novel was disreputable: as the print market rapidly grew, adding newly literate readers and middle-class authors, cultural and moral gatekeepers warned against it as frivolous and dangerous, especially to the young. How and why did English narrative fiction evolve, and what can we learn from reading various types of proto-novels? We’ll sample several: Daniel Defoe’s picaresque, Samuel Richardson’s epistolary novel, Eliza Haywood’s parody of Richardson, Frances Burney’s Bildungsroman and Jane Austen’s novel of manners.

Sections: 
Title: 
English Novel
Instructors: 

Elizabeth Bohls

Elizabeth Bohls profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Additional Title: Associate Department Head
  • Phone: 541-346-5484
  • Office: 263 PLC
  • Office Hours: Spring term: W 12:00-3:00 and by appt.
Department Section Description: 

The novel as we know it today did not exist until the early nineteenth century, the end point of this course. Before then, fictional prose narratives circulated in Britain under various labels, including “romance,” “history,” “true history” or “secret history,” as well as “novel.” Moreover, the divide between fact and fiction that we now know (or think we know) is not easy to find in some of these early narratives. The early novel was disreputable: as the print market grew, adding newly literate readers and middle-class authors, moral gatekeepers warned against it as frivolous and dangerous, especially to the young. How and why did English narrative fiction evolve, and what can we learn from reading various types of proto-novels? Our focus is on women protagonists—heroines (and anti-heroines): a hard-luck foster child who becomes a servant, wife, prostitute, thief, convict, and American colonist; a super-virtuous serving maid harassed by her horny employer; a naïve country mouse venturing into London high society; and an "old maid" in her twenties encountering her former fiancé. We'll develop a critical vocabulary for analyzing the various forms of the early novel, including picaresque, epistolary, sentimental, Bildungsroman and novel of manners. Due to the subject matter, the reading load is relatively heavy; please set aside ample time!

Syllabus: 
Fulfills: 

Old Major: B-Literature 1500-1789

Literature, 1500-1789 courses focus on writings during the period of European exploration and colonization -- from the early English Renaissance to the late eighteenth-century -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.  The study of early periods in particular sensitizes readers to historical transformations of the language itself.

B-Literature 1500-1789

Literature, 1500-1789 courses focus on writings during the period of European exploration and colonization -- from the early English Renaissance to the late eighteenth-century -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.  The study of early periods in particular sensitizes readers to historical transformations of the language itself.

English Minor

English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts.  The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.