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The Rise and Development of the English Novel

The Rise and Development of the English Novel I

Course Outline

This course aims to introduce students to the development of the most popular form of literature in English today, the novel.  The history of the English novel is short compared to that of Drama and Poetry, however, during the past 300 years since the publication of what is generally accepted as English literatures first novel, Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe, the novel has altered considerably both in terms of style and content.  The first part of this two semester course will analyse work from Defoe through to the novels of Thomas Hardy in the late nineteenth century. 

Student Requirements

The major problem facing students in this course is the amount of reading involved.  Novels, especially those written before the twentieth century, tend to be long pieces of prose.  Although the language used is relatively simple compared to that used in other genres, the sheer length of the works make reading difficult.  Nevertheless, students will be expected to read four major novels during the semester, three for class and one for a personal assignment.  Attendance in lessons is advisable, as every lesson will focus on a different aspect of a particular work. 

Reading List

Past experience has shown that novels from this period take students about three weeks to read.  Therefore, the list of novels to be analysed in class will be limited to three.  These are: 

Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe

Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice

Thomas Hardys Tess of the DUrbevilles

Students should buy these works as soon as possible (All are available with either Penguin or Wordsworth Classics) and begin reading. 


Assessment will be divided into two parts, each accounting for 50% of the students final mark. 

(a)    There will be a final exam based on the works studied in class.  Students will be required to answer 6-8 questions about the texts and answers are expected to be paragraph length.  The texts can be used during the exam and quotations taken to support an answer will be rewarded.

(b)   Each student will select one novel from the list given by the instructor.  This novel will be the students own personal assignment for the semester and an essay of approximately 3000 words (10-12 pages) will be written before the end of the semester.  This assignment should be started immediately and worked on continuously throughout the semester.  During the semester, there will be two reading weeks in which there will be no lessons.  Students should use this time to discuss the progress of their assignments with the instructor.

Personal Assignments 

Each student will select one of the following novels to use as the basis for a 3000 word essay.  Students should take the following information into account when writing their essays.

(a)    An essay needs an argument/focus.  Retelling the plot of the novel is only a very small part of the essay.  Analysis of the concepts involved is far more important.

(b)   Quotations from the novel must be taken to support your argument.

(c)    Secondary sources (i.e. critical articles) must be used.

(d)   The structure of the essay must be of a high standard.

(e)    Under no circumstances must the student copy from another persons work.  Any evidence of copying will lead to an F grade.

The List of Novels

Daniel Defoe             Moll Flanders (Zeynep)

Samuel Richardson             Pamela (Serdar), Clarissa, Sir Charles Grandison

Henry Fielding           Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, Jonathon Wild, Amelia

Tobias Smollett -              Humphry Clinker, Roderick Random

Laurence Sterne -             Tristram Shandy

Horace Walpole -             The Castle of Otranto

Ann Radcliffe -             The Mysteries of Udolpho

Matthew Lewis -           The Monk (Recep)

Jane Austen -               Emma (Suna), Sense and Sensability (Miray), Persuasion (Seval), Mansfield Park (Mahmut), Northanger Abbey (Firdevs)

Walter Scott -             Waverley, Rob Roy, Ivanhoe

Charles Dickens -             Oliver Twist (Semiha),  Great Expectations (Banu), David Copperfield (Deniz), Nicholas Nickleby, Hard Times (Kubra), Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities (Fadime),  Little Dorrit, Martin Chuzzlewit, Old Curiosity Shop (Betul), Our Mutual Friend, Pickwick Papers

William Thackaray -             Vanity Fair

Charlotte Bronte -             Jane Eyre (Nilufer), Villette (Elif), Shirley (Fatma.K), The Professor (Husnu)

Emily Bronte -             Wuthering Heights (Ferhunde)

Anne Bronte -             Agnes Grey (Nimet), The Tenant of Wldfell Hall

Elizabeth Gaskell -            North and South, Cranford

Anthony Trollope -             Barchester Towers, The Warden, Can you forgive her?, Dr Thorne, The Eustace Diamonds, Framley Parsonage, The Last Chronicle of Barset, Phineas Finn, The Small House at Arlington, The Way we live now

George Elliot -              Middlemarch, Silus Marner (Halil), Adam Bede, Daniel Deronda, The Mill on the Floss (Abdulvahap)

Thomas Hardy -             Jude the Obscure (Hamdi), The Mayor of Castebridge (Esra), Far from the Madding Crowd (Fatma.D), A Pair of Blue Eyes (Reyhan), The Return of the Native (Derya), The Trumpet Major (Nida), Under the Greenwood Tree (Aziz Nuri), The Woodlanders (Mustafa)

George Meredith -            The Egoist (Tuba.P)

Students should select a novel and then inform the instructor.  Only one student will be allowed to analyse each book.  If there are two many students for the texts, or if certain texts are unavailable, the instructor will assign texts to those students who are the last to select.

Example Essay Plan for Personal Assignments

Robinson Crusoe Revision Check List

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