Beginnings of the Modern Novel in the Early 18th-century England

Course title: Beginnings of the Modern Novel in the Early 18th-century England
Instructor: Assoc. Prof. Vanja Polić
ECTS credits: 6
Language: English
4th or 6th semester

Status: elective
Enrolment requirements: completed Introduction to English literature, enrolment in the 4th or 6th semester
Course description: The course will acquaint the students with historical, social and cultural aspects of the 18th century England with a special focus on those social-historical traits which fostered the emergence of the modern novel. Within this broader context representative novels will be studied in more detail, such as Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and others. In the course the main tenets of the novel genre will be analyzed, as well as the types of the novel existent on the early 18th century literary scene. The phenomenon of the contemporary popularity of the genre will also be discussed, and its struggle to become accepted into the highbrow literature.
Objectives: The aim of the course is to acquaint students with a period of English literary history and to teach them about the genre of the novel by studying the emergence of those novelistic tenets which will later become  characteristic of the genre.
Course requirements: The final grade is based on continuous assessment which includes regular attendance, preparation for and participation in class, writing small assignments, timely submission of the final paper, and obligatory sitting for midterm and endterm exam. The paper is worth 35%, midterm and endterm exams are worth 50% and other elements of continuous assessment are worth 15% of the final grade. Students must meet all requirements of continuous assessment.

The exact date of the mid-term exam is defined in cooperation with the students. Topics for the main written assignment (student paper) are selected during week 8.

Week by week schedule
WEEK 1: introduction into the social, cultural and economic circumstances of the early 18th century

WEEK 2: key theories about the emergence of the modern novel
WEEK 3: pretexts of the English novel
WEEK 4: history, historiography or story – what is the novel genre in 18th c.
WEEK 5: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders
WEEK 6: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe
WEEK 7: mid-term exam and paper topics
WEEK 8: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels
WEEK 9: Swift continued
WEEK 10: Henry Fielding, the father of the novel, Tom Jones
WEEK 11: Fielding continued, Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews
WEEK12: Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
WEEK 13: Sterne continued
WEEK 14: final remarks, end-term exam

Reading list:
Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko

Defoe, Daniel. Moll Flanders
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe – selections
Fielding, Henry. Joseph Andrews – selections
Fielding, Henry. Tom Jones – selections
Sterne, Laurence. Tristram Shandy
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels

Hunter, J. Paul, Before Novels, The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth Century English Fiction
McKeon, Michael, The Origins of the English Novel 1600-1740
Richetti, John J., ed, The Cambridge Companion to The Eighteenth Century Novel
Richetti, John J., Popular Fiction Before Richardson, Narrative Patterns 1700-1739
Richetti, John J., The English Novel in History 1700-1780
Spencer, Jane, The Rise of the Woman Novelist, From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen
Watt, Ian, The Rise of the Novel
Williams, Ioan, ed, Novel and Romance 1700-1800
Žmegač, Viktor, Povijesna poetika romana