English 203

Graduate Readings: The Novel in Theory

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2018 Hale, Dorothy J.
TTh 11-12:30 78 Barrows


This course traces the development of novel theory in the twentieth century.  Designed as an introduction to major arguments that are still influential in literary studies generally, the course asks why so many different theoretical schools have made novels the privileged object of critical attention.  Topics of discussion include the difference between narrative and the novel; the location of novelistic difference in the representation of time and space; the definition of subjectivity in terms of vision and voice; the valorization of grammatical structures; the search for a masterplot; the historicization of genre; the confusion of realism and reality; and the belief in a politics of form.  We will also think about why character has become a renewed subject of theoretical investigation and recent claims made for the ethical value of novel reading.  Course reading will be drawn from, but not limited to, works by H. James, Shklovsky, Lukács, Jameson, Barthes, Girard, Genette, Booth, Bakhtin, Sedgwick, Said, Spivak and Rancière.  James's What Maisie Knew  and Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God will serve as test cases.  Elizabeth Costello, J.M. Coetzee's metafictional engagement with the theory of the novel, will provide a view of the tradition from century's end.  

Two short papers (10 pages each) will facilitate the work of theoretical analysis and discussion.  An oral presentation and postings on bspace are also course requirements.

Required texts include Roland Barthes, S/Z; J.M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello;  Gerard Genette, Narrative Discourse; Dorothy J. Hale, The Novel: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, 1900-2000; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (Harper); Henry James, What Maisie Knew (Oxford); Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel.  

Books have been ordered through the campus Student Store.  You are strongly advised, however, to find our books in advance of class through Amazon or other vendors.  The campus Student Store has often failed to provide required course texts in sufficient numbers and in a timely manner.  A course reader is available through Copy Central at 2576 Bancroft Ave. (848-8649.

This course satisfies the Group 6 (Non-historical) requirement.

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