English | British Fiction to 1800
L347 | 26965 | Jessie Molesworth

Jesse Molesworth

26965 - 9:30a-10:45a TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

TOPIC: "Enlightenment and the Novel"

Two theses have dominated eighteenth-century studies for the last
half-century or so: one having to do with the “rise of the novel”
and one having to do with the sway of “Enlightenment culture,” in
all of its philosophical, political, and scientific dimensions.  To
what extent do novels work to enlighten and to what extent to they
resist enlightenment?  Using Immanuel Kant’s seminal essay “What is
Enlightenment?” as a guide, we will investigate such topics as the
relation of the novel to the epic, the question of realism,
the “public sphere” hypothesis, the waning (?) of Providence, self-
reflexivity within fiction, and the rise of the Gothic aesthetic,
among many others.

Texts will include the following: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe;
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones; Denis Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist;
Matthew Lewis, The Monk; Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.  Assignments
will include regular attendance and participation, a shorter paper
(4-5 pages), a longer paper (8-10 pages), a midterm, and a final