English 125C

The European Novel: The Many Faces of the 19th-Century European Novel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2017 Golburt, Luba
MWF 3-4 170 Barrows

Book List

Austen, Jane: Northanger Abbey; Flaubert, Gustave : Madame Bovary; Goethe, Johann Wolfgang: The Sorrow of Young Werther; Pushkin, Alexander: Eugene Onegin; Tolstoy, Leo: War and Peace


The novel emerged as the principal literary genre in 19th-century Europe and has continued to dominate the literary market in Europe and North America ever since.  What were the constitutive formal elements as well as social and psychological concerns of novelistic narrative in the period of its greatest ascendancy? Focusing on a selection of novels from the German, English, French, and Russian traditions, this course examines the many guises the novel assumed in the process of its becoming, over the course of the 19th century, the central genre within which key social, political, and aesthetic issues of its time could be deliberated.

All novels considered in this course are markedly experimental. Each showcases a different dimension of the novel genre: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) is a sentimental epistolary novel; Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1817), a mock-Gothic novel of manners; Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (1823-1831), an ironic and fragmentary novel in verse; Gustave Flaubert’s, Madame Bovary (1856) establishes the model of modern realist narration; and finally Leo Tolstoy’s magisterial historical novel War and Peace (1865-1869) raises crucial questions about the very premises of what it means to be historical and novelistic.

Workload/Requirements.  Close reading of assigned texts (up to 200 pages per week), regular attendance, short assignments, midterm, one paper, final exam.

This course is cross-listed with Slavic 133.

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