English 203

Graduate Readings: Novel Theory, Narrative Theory, and the Sociology of the Novel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2022 Puckett, Kent
Tuesday 9-12 Wheeler 337

Book List

Aristotle: Poetics; Armstrong, N.: Desire and Domestic Fiction; Auerbach, E.: Mimesis; Bakhtin, M.: The Dialogic Imagination; Barthes, R.: S/Z: An Essay; Barthes, R.: The Pleasure of the Text; Bourdieu, P.: The Rules of Art; Brooks, P.: Reading for the Plot; Forster, E. M.: Aspects of the Novel; Freud, S.: Beyond the Pleasure Principle; Genette, G.: Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method; Girard, R.: Deceit, Desire, and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure; Hamburger, K.: The Logic of Literature; Kojève, A.: Introduction to the Reading of Hegel; Kristeva, J.: Desire in Language; Lukács, G.: The Historical Novel; Lukács, G.: The Theory of the Novel; Lynch, D.: The Economy of Character; Propp, V.: Morphology of the Folktale; Sedgwick, E.: Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire; Watt, I.: The Rise of the Novel; White, H.: Metahistory; Woloch, A.: The One vs. the Many

Other Readings and Media

The texts listed above are some on which we'll draw for our readings.  In a few cases (Narrative Discourse, S/Z), we'll read whole volumes.  In many cases, we'll read selections and individual essays, all of which I'll make available to members of the seminar.  


In this course, we will read a lot of writing about narrative and the novel for a few related reasons.  First, we’ll consider several representative texts in narratology, novel theory, and the sociology of the novel to trace out some key arguments about narrative structure and narrative voice; the rise, nature, and ostensible ends of the novel; omniscient narrators, minor characters, and ideal readers; the novel and history, the novel and sex, the novel and politics, and the novel and lost illusions.  We will read books and essays by, for instance, George Eliot and Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson and Henry James, Ralph Ellison and Gérard Genette, Mikhail Bakhtin and Erving Goffman, E. M. Forster and Julia Kristeva, Georg Lukács and Virginia Woolf.  Second, we will use these readings not only to understand these different critical fields but also to think about their respective and intertwined histories.  When and why did narrative theory begin to diverge significantly from the theory of the novel?  How should we think about the movement of ideas between Russian, Continental, and Anglo-American critics and theorists?  What’s the difference between the novel as a narrative structure, the novel as an aesthetic form, and the novel as an especially eloquent index of a disenchanted modernity?  Third, we will apply these theories as we go.  I’ll ask each participant in the seminar to pick a novel or another kind of narrative at the start of the semester and to use it as an object against which to test the promise and the limits of these different ways of reading, thinking, and writing about novel theory, narrative theory, and the sociology of the novel.



Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List