English 100

Junior Seminar: Novel Genealogies�Balzac, Eliot, and James

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2008 Puckett, Kent
Puckett , Kent
MW 4-5:30 251 Dwinelle

Other Readings and Media

Balzac, H.: P�re Goriot, Lost Illusions; Eliot, George: Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda; James, Henry: Roderick Hudson, The Portrait of a Lady, The Golden Bowl; a course reader with selections from Armstrong, Bourdieu, Foucault, Guillory, and others


In an 1873 letter to Grace Norton, Henry James writes, �To produce some little exemplary works of art is my narrow and lowly dream. They are to have less �brain� than Middlemarch; but (I boldly proclaim it) they are to have more form.� For the young Henry James, writing a novel meant writing something different, something better, something more than Middlemarch. To write, in other words, was to beat Middlemarch at its own game. In this course we�ll look closely at a handful of novels in order to understand the development of some of that genre�s signature techniques within the context of novelists reading and competing with other novelists. How does one novel revise, revisit, subvert, celebrate or abuse another? How might the so-called �rise� of the novel be understood as the effect of the static that results when one idea about the novel incorporates, bumps up against, or runs over another? We�ll read novels by Honor� de Balzac, George Eliot, and Henry James in order to think about some major concepts within the study of the novel: realism, the representation of the social, different forms of narration, character, plot, etc. We�ll also talk in broader terms (aesthetic, social, economic) about what these writers thought they were doing when they thought to write novels as opposed or in addition to plays, essays, poetry, etc.

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