Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. 10 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 essay 2,500 words (60%) plus oral presentation (40%)  Continuous Assessment:  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students should typically be able to:

1. demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of prose fictions from the period 1660-1800;

2. relate the texts studied to a variety of critical accounts of the 'development of the novel' and to evaluate the validity of those accounts in the analysis of specific texts;

3. relate the texts studied to their historical and cultural contexts.

Brief description

The period from 1660 to 1800 is crucial for an understanding of the development of the novel as the dominant literary form in British culture. In this module, we will explore the different ways in which Restoration and eighteenth-century writers experimented with, manipulated and subverted narrative forms and expectations as well as pay attention to shifting generic and cultural influences on the novel form.
We will be reading a range of prose fictions from the period - from romances, rogue narratives and religious allegories to courtship novels, oriental narratives and sentimental fiction - as well as investigating debates concerning the theory of narrative, the social function of novels and the growing anxieties about the dangers involved in reading fiction, especially for female readers. In addition to a consideration of the historical dimension of genre, the module will address issues of gender, politics, orientalism, sexuality, social morality and cultural change throughout the period under investigation.
The module is divided into two sections and charts the varied approaches to fictional narrative from 1660-1740 and then from 1740-1800. Three to four texts from each section will be chosen to study in detail. The module will be taught in two hour weekly seminars, which will be introduced by seminar papers.


Texts to be selected from the following lists:


Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World (1666)
Thomas Dangerfield, Don Tomazo (1680)
John Bunyan, The Life and Death of Mr Badman (1692)
William Congreve, Incognita (1692)
Aphra Behn, The Unfortunate Happy Lady (1698)
  • [All the above in Paul Salzman (ed.), An Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Prose Fiction, Oxford, 1991)]
Madame de Lafayette, The Princess of Cleves (1678, trans 1679) [Oxford]
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress (1678) [Penguin]
Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (1719-20) [Broadview Press]; The Injur'd Husband and Lasselia (1720s) [Kentucky]
Daniel Defoe, Roxana; or, The Fortunate Mistress (1724) [Everyman]


Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (1749) [Penguin]
Eliza Haywood, The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751) [Broadview]
Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote (1752) [Oxford]
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1759-1767) [Penguin]
Selection from Oriental Tales ed. by Robert Mack (1760s-1780s) [Oxford]
Frances Sheridan, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761) [Oxford]
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764) [Oxford]
Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (1790) [Oxford]
Mary Hays, Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796) [Oxford]

Reading List

Recommended Consultation
Ian Watt (1957) The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding Chatto Primo search J. Paul Hunter (1990) Before Novels: The Cultural Context of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction W. W. Norton Primo search Jane Spencer (1986) The Rise of the Woman Novelist from Aphra Behn to Jane Austen Blackwell Primo search John Richetti (1998) The English Novel in History 1700-1780 Routledge Primo search John Richetti (ed.) (1996) The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel Cambridge University Press Primo search Lennard Davies (1983) Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel Columbia University Press Primo search Nancy Armstrong (1987) Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel Oxford University Press Primo search Richard Kroll (ed.) (1998) The English Novel: Volume 1, 1700 to Fielding Longman Primo search Richard Kroll (ed.) (1998) The English Novel: Volume 2, Smollett to Austen Longman Primo search William Warner (1998) Licensing Entertainment: the elevation of novel reading in Britain, 1684-1750 University of California Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6