Great Novels 1850 - Present
Full course description
In this course, you will read five key novels by British, Dutch, French, and American authors. The reading and discussion of the primary works is the main objective for this course. Besides that, the course will introduce you into the scholarly analysis of literary works. It will acquaint you with major developments in the history of Western literature since 1850, and provide you with a vocabulary/toolkit to discuss and analyze novels. You will gain experience in reading, analyzing and writing about novels.
However, what exactly is a novel - Virginia Woolf described it as ‘the most pliable of forms’? As its name testifies, the novel was a ‘new’ genre. For centuries, the body of work referred to as ‘literature’ would first entail drama and poetry, but in the course of the nineteenth century, the novel took flight. Why did it become such a dominant genre? Some have argued that the novel was so successful because it became the medium of the middle class, and the vehicle of its emancipation. To be sure, the novel helped shaping ideas about modern society, about what an individual is or can be, about self and other, about love, sex, marriage and property. Nevertheless, even if all those functions can be attributed to the 19th century novel, can the same be said about the 20th century novel? How did the novel as a genre change over time? This course will address these and other questions, primarily by reading novels from the Western tradition from 1850 onwards.
- You are acquainted with a number of key novels from the western tradition.
- You have a basic understanding of periodization in literary history.
- You know the basic concepts in literary theory.
- You are able to apply theoretical concepts in analysing a novel.
- You can formulate a research question as a starting point for a literary analysis
- You have mastered the basics of writing effectively and academically about literature.
- 5 novels:
- Flaubert, G. (1857). Madame Bovary.
- Couperus, L. (1900). The hidden force.
- Woolf, V. (1925). Mrs Dalloway.
- Fitzgerald, F.S. (1925). The great Gatsby.
- Cunningham, M. (1998). The Hours.
- Bennett, A. & Royle,N. (2009). An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. Routledge, 3rd , 4th or 5th ed.