Thurs 3:30 PM – 6:20 PM
Not so much a historical survey as an investigation of extraordinary novels. This is a chance to read, and study with others, novels you’ve always wanted to read, or reread. Our approach will sometimes be academic and theoretical, at other times craft-based and aesthetic. Our focus will be on major works and novelists, and we’ll examine the history, practice, theory, and reception of the novel, pursuing such questions as: What do novels do for us? What kinds of categories are most effective in accounting for variations? How has the form evolved? Why has it lasted so long and how does it renew itself? Texts will be in English, including translated works. Readings will be determined in part by a student survey I will send you in December. The last class selected these texts: Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Austen’s Persuasion, Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Norris’s McTeague, Proust’s Swann’s Way, Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Robinson’s Housekeeping, etc. We also read essays by Nina Baym, Sandra Gilbert, Harold Bloom, James Wood, and others. I may encourage some additional early novels from other cultures.