Universität Wien FIND

123041 PS PS Literary Studies (2022S)

"The Rise of the Novel": (Re-)approaching 18th-century prose fiction

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Donnerstag 10.03. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 17.03. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 24.03. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 31.03. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 07.04. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 28.04. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 05.05. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 12.05. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 19.05. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 02.06. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 09.06. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 23.06. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital
Donnerstag 30.06. 16:15 - 17:45 Digital


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Take any standard history of English literature and you will most likely learn that the 18th century saw the birth of a new genre. The “novel” offered stories about the inner lives of ordinary people, stories with non-traditional plotlines that were entertaining, true-to-life, and easy to understand. Ian Watt, in his seminal publication The Rise of the Novel (1957), was the first to trace the genesis of this new literary form, a form defined by a narrative method he called “formal realism”. The (in)famous all-male trio that Watt immortalized as the novel’s birthparents comprised Samuel Richardson, Daniel Defoe, and Henry Fielding. Those three, Watt maintained, were “the first three novelists” (9). But the novel did not develop in a void, nor were authors and readers aware that a new genre called ‘the novel’ was among them. Before the “rise of the novel” there had been a long tradition of fictional writing in prose. Since the late 1950s, therefore, alternative histories of the novel have been written – histories that acknowledge the novel’s predecessors, the significant contributions of female writers, as well as trans-national influences.
In this proseminar, we will read fictional prose texts composed in the Long 18th century. We will try to answer a number of questions, e.g., What was so new about the novel and why did it “rise” when it did? What were the main concerns of early novel writers and how did they fashion themselves and their writing? What were the possibilities that this “new” generic form offered to writers and what did they do with them? How did the form develop in the course of the century? The seminar provides an overview of canonical authors and examples of the genre, while acknowledging the important contributions of other writers, and studying some precursors and hybrid forms. As part of the seminar, we will also recapitulate the basics of academic writing and the analysis of narrative texts.
Disclaimer: This is a reading-intensive course! While most of the chosen novels are relatively short and, for some of them, you will be given excerpts, you will have to read and prepare a large number of primary texts as well as take over an expert session on one of them. Please be prepared to do so.

At the end of this seminar, you should be able to:
- describe the socio-cultural developments that influenced the development of the novel
- list the main features of the genre and some of its predecessors
- give an account of traditional scholarly histories of the novel and reflect on their limitations, biases and blind-spots
- identify the plots, characters, and major themes of the texts discussed in class and analyse their formal features
- find and use secondary literature that can help you make sense of the texts discussed in class
- plan and write an academic paper about one of the discussed texts (or a related topic)
- assess your colleagues’ performances and give peer-feedback

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Regular attendance (max. two absences); students are expected to prepare the assigned readings, complete a number of written assignments and quizzes, participate actively in class, and be part of an expert group, including an oral presentation. To complete the class, you will have to hand in a term paper on a related topic of your choice and a short abstract.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Classroom participation and written assignments 20%
Presentation / expert sessions 20%
Abstract 10% (c. 300 words)
Term paper 50% (c. 3.500 words)
Points must be collected in all of these categories. Students must attain at least 60% to pass this course.

Marks in %:
1 (sehr gut): 90-100
2 (gut): 80-89
3 (befriedigend): 70-79
4 (genügend): 60-69
5 (nicht genügend): 0-59


All topics covered in class. Students are expected to read and prepare the assigned primary and secondary texts, participate actively in class, hand in written assignments on time, and lead one expert session. There will be no written exam.


Please make sure you own a copy of the following texts (preferably annotated versions):
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year
Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Or Virtue Rewarded
Henry Fielding, Shamela
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Additional material will be made available via moodle.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Studium: BA 612; BEd 046 / 407
Code/Modul: BA10.1; BEd 08a.1, BEd 08b.2
Lehrinhalt: 12-3041

Letzte Änderung: Mi 22.03.2023 14:08