online syllabus:

electronic reserves:
(password 563)

listserv addresses:

list of groups:

18th-century links:

halle library website:


~ schedule ~




Literature 563:

Novel Geographies: Eighteenth-Century
British Fiction & the Cultural Institutions of the “Rise of the Novel”


winter 2006


Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office Hours: Monday 5-6 & Thursday 11-3 PM

~ or  email for an appointment ~


Registration #26098
6:30 - 9:10 PM
Pray Harrold Hall 618




Literature 563: Studies in Eighteenth-Century British Fiction

Novel Geographies: 18th-Century British Fiction & the Cultural Institutions of the “Rise of the Novel”

Literature 563 is a course in which you will investigate a wide variety of British prose fiction from the period that spans the late seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth century.  This period is generally referred to as the “long” eighteenth century in order to account for the revolutions that precede and conclude the eighteenth century proper, both of which influence the direction of British literary culture profoundly — the Restoration (of the British monarchy) following the Civil War and, of course, the French Revolution, the period’s spectacular fin de siècle denouement.  In addition to neoclassicism, which is only one of many literary movements prevalent at the time (and not necessarily the most interesting nor even the most important one), we will also consider other genres no less representative of the period, whether they be gothic, orientalist, libertine, sentimental, or even those prevailing in the visual arts such as the picturesque, chinoiserie, or rococo.  Likewise, although our primary focus will be on the novel, a genre widely thought to be first invented and developed in the period, we will consider non-fictional, semi-fictional, or at least not-necessarily-so-novelistic genres almost equally fashionable at the time, such as print journalistic vehicles like the Spectator, travel narratives, or epistolary works.  These quasi-canonical narratives and genres are important in and of themselves, as well as in terms of how they shape the emergence of the novel (arguably, merely an omnivorous, mass-produced hybrid of them all) as the genre of choice and as the ultimate guardian of the literary real from this period onwards.

Perhaps more than any other period, the eighteenth century represents a moment that we must evaluate and reevaluate to challenge and interrogate the values of our own time.  Although often considered the quaint, tea-and-crumpets blueprint for civil societies across the globe, the British eighteenth century witnesses both the positives and negatives of modernity in the extreme.  Thus, in midst of a massive expansion of the slave trade, the birth of the market economy and finance capitalism, as well as an increasingly rigid sex-gender system (culminating in “Angle of the House” Victorian domesticity), we find a celebration of art and culture that students of literature still cannot help but admire.  We will test both the apocalyptic and utopian visions of the British enlightenment through a diverse array of texts that put issues of modernity at the fore.  And ultimately whether discussing literature or world events, we will attempt to expand rather than confine our engagement with the material, not only putting literary works in dialogue with the historical and philosophical texts of the time, but also examining how they shape the myriad claims to (and contestations against) modernity that continue to vex our own. 


Course Itinerary

Section One:

The Global Eighteenth Century

Behn, Oroonoko; Steele, “Inkle and Yarico”;
Addison, “Royal Exchange”, Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Selections from Equiano, Interesting Narrative;
Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters

Section Two:

Inventions, Ideologies: Sexuality and Gender

Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode;
Haywood, Fantomina; Richardson, Clarissa;
Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Selections from
Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield


Texts and Materials

The following books are available at Ned’s bookstore (; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross St.), although additional copies may be available at other EMU bookstores.  Please make sure to get the same editions pictured and listed below, for otherwise the differing page numbers will make it difficult for you to follow along with class discussions:


v       Aphra Behn, Oroonoko; Or, The Royal Slave.  Ed. Catherine Gallagher.  Bedford Cultural Editions, 1999.  (ISBN #0312108133)

v       Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels.  Ed. Christopher B. Fox.  Bedford Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, 1994.  (ISBN #0312066651)

v       Samuel Richardson, Clarissa.  Ed. George Sherburn.  Abridged Edition.  Houghton Mifflin, 1962.  (ISBN #0395051649)

v       Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy: An Authoritative Text.  Ed. Howard Anderson.  Norton Critical Edition, 1980.  (ISBN #0393950344)

Many other required readings will be available online at the Halle Library’s Electronic Reserve website:  It is best to print out the Electronic Reserve materials every few weeks in advance from the multimedia computers on the first floor of the Halle library.  These computers are more likely to open the files (and to open them quickly) than your own computer, and printing the materials from that location will be entirely free.  Technicians are also nearby should you encounter any kind of problem. 






Weekly Homework Assignments

 due dates:



Research Proposal (4 pages)

April 12



Research Presentation

April 26



Seminar Paper (16-20 pages)

April 29


Weekly Homework Assignments (30%)

Aside from the required reading, there will one of three kinds of homework assignments due almost every week.  You will cycle though these different assignments, depending on which of the three base groups you are in.  See the List of Group Assignments for details about your group assignment, including a link to the email addresses of your fellow group members, and see the Schedule that follows for details about which kind of homework assignment you will be doing for each particular week.

Informal Responses

Responses are casual written reactions to the materials that we have read for the week, of roughly 300 to 350 words handwritten or typed.  Each response must significantly engage with at least one of the primary readings, as well as with at least one of the contextual or critical readings (preferably the latter).  If you miss this assignment, you must make it up by the following week.

Discussion Questions

The discussion questions should be challenging yet open ended, encouraging your fellow students to interpret texts in a more nuanced and complex fashion than they might have otherwise.  For example, you might ask your peers to

1.       Debate an ethical issue raised by the events in the literature or ideas in the criticism;

2.       Compare and contrast the texts with other well-known texts or films;

3.       Analyze unusual symbols or images that recur throughout the narrative (“motifs”);

4.       Pinpoint the conscious or unconscious motivations of the author, culture, or readers;

5.       Connect some of the situations in the literature to circumstances currently in unfolding in our own era;

6.       Do character sketches of main or marginal characters (or both), considering their motivations, conflicts, reliability, development, or lack thereof;

7.       Consider how the events in the narrative would be perceived differently by different characters, by different readers, or by different cultures (women/men; rich/poor; slave/free);

8.       Re-evaluate the text with a suggestive quote in mind, a quote from a contemporary author, from a critical theorist, or from any other interesting and pertinent source;

9.       Examine the text from a feminist, deconstructionist, Marxist, formalist, or new historicist point of view, or from the point of view of any other theoretical school, giving helpful pointers on how to do so for those unacquainted with that particular paradigm. 

Each member of the group will be responsible for designing one question, preferably in consultation with the other group members so as to prevent the repetition of the same topics.  You can either meet in advance of the class or consult with each other over email to make sure that the questions do not overlap.  (See the List of Group Assignments for a quick link to all emails.)  You will have to finish the assigned reading somewhat earlier than the other students, in time to consult about the reading and polish the questions.  Just make sure that each question is distinct from the others, as well as substantive enough to warrant extensive discussion by your peers.  There is no way to make up this assignment, so make sure to do it in a timely fashion.

Bring six copies of the final version of the discussion questions to class: one copy for me and one copy for each of the five groups that will ultimately consider the questions.  You can either bring in your questions individually (perhaps pasted six times on the same page to save paper) or consolidate the assorted questions on one page as a group.

If at all possible, email the questions to me in advance so that I can avoid repeating the same material in the preceding lecture.  These discussion questions, as well as those of the other groups, will be available in the Electronic Reserves following the class period.

Mini-Presentations on Optional or Outside Reading

This assignment essentially entails reading some additional material for the week — either a longer version of a text that the other students are also reading, an optional critical article or book chapter listed on the schedule, or an article of secondary criticism that you have discovered on your own by searching the MLA Bibliography. 

For recommendations for outside reading, see the texts with asterisks (**) listed on the Schedule each week, see the materials in the “Supplementary Reading” folders of the Electronic Reserves, or find different articles or chapters by one of the authors assigned as required reading.  Most of the texts with asterisks will be available in the “Complete Article” folders of the Electronic Reserves, as well as at the circulation desk of the Halle library. 

As you read the supplementary material, do the following: 1) make a brief inventory of the three or four most important arguments of the author (in bulleted lists rather than in complete sentences); 2) transcribe your favorite quote (or at least the most suggestive one) from the text; and 3) jot down the page number and the basic bibliographic information, especially if you find the article or book chapter on your own.  You will share this information with the class as a whole in a mini-presentation of 3 to 5 minutes.  If possible, make a few copies of the quote (pasted a couple of times on the same page) for the other students to share.

Make-Up Work for Absent Students

If you are absent from class, consult the discussion questions in the Electronic Reserves for that week and then write a 300- to 350-word response on one of the questions to make up for the groupwork that you missed.


Research Project (70%)

I strongly recommend consulting with me during my office hours as early as possible in the semester to identify the topics that you want to pursue in the seminar paper.  You can recycle any of the work that you generate through the homework assignments listed above in the seminar paper itself; e.g. by expanding one of your responses into a more formal (and more organized) research essay or by using one of the discussion questions as a basis for further analysis and research.

Research Proposal (15%)

In the four-page research proposal, you will identify the novel (or narrative) that you will discuss in the final seminar paper, indicating the approach that you plan to take to it and specifying the sources that you will use to support your claims (see below for the minimum source requirements).  All in all, the proposal must include the following: 1) an introductory paragraph, thesis, and outline for your research paper; 2) a brief survey of the main critical materials that will inform it; and 3) a brief annotated bibliography.  **If you are not writing on the final novel (Tristram Shandy), it would be a good idea to turn in the research proposal earlier in the semester so that you can get feedback on your essay before the often hectic closing weeks of the term.

Research Presentation (5%)

On the last day of class, the day otherwise scheduled for the final exam, you will give an informal in-class presentation of the research that you have done for your final essay.  Whether or not you have actually finished the paper, the research proposal can serve as a guide to share your argument with your classmates and to receive feedback from them in return.

Seminar Paper (50%)

The most important writing assignment will, of course, be the seminar paper itself.  Aside from the novel or narrative on which you are primarily focusing your argument, this 16- to 20-page essay must reference a minimum of six outside sources, including at least one of each of the following: a theorist, a literary critic, a historian, and another primary source (either another work by the same author or another work by a related author from the same period). 

Of these six sources, three can derive from the materials already assigned as required reading for the class.  See the Researching Literature handout for basic guidelines on research, as well as the handout on MLA documentation in the Electronic Reserves. 

You also must make at least a decent attempt to format the paper according to MLA conventions by providing parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page.  Also, please remember to include page numbers and your last name inside the top margin.


Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is a very serious offense against the Code of Student Conduct.  According to Funk and Wagnalls’ New Standard Dictionary, plagiarism is the act of “appropriating the ideas, writings, or inventions of another without due acknowledgment; specifically, the stealing of passages either for word or in substance, from the writings of another and publishing them as one’s own.”  The general rule is that if you use three or more words of another writer in a row without enclosing those words in quotation marks and acknowledging your source, you are guilty of plagiarism. 

Turning a paper in that you wrote for another class for this class, i.e. recycling the same words for double credit, also constitutes academic dishonesty at EMU.  Any academic dishonesty will result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment.  With the internet, plagiarism is quite easy and tempting to do; however, the internet also makes plagiarism that much more easy to catch and document, so do not even think about doing it in this class or elsewhere.   



Section One: Contact Zones — The Global Eighteenth Century

Week One (January 11):

Introduction to Course; Student Introductions; Conjectural Reponses


Week Two (January 18):

Primary Text:  Begin Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (OR 34-69)

Context:  Catherine Gallagher Introduction (OR 3-25)

            “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Longman Anthology, Parts I & II [ER]

Theorists: Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “Tropes of Empire,” Unthinking Eurocentrism** [ER]

Optional Criticism: Laura Brown, “Romance of Empire”** [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Mini-Presentation


Week Three (January 25):

Primary Texts:  Finish Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (OR 70-100)

 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters [ER, Biography Optional]

Artwork:  America Awakens, Theodor Galle (1580) [ER]

Theorist:  Mary Louis Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone”** [ER]

Optional Criticism: Srinivas Aravamudan, “Petting Oroonoko,” Tropicopolitans** [ER~]

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; Group 1 Mini-Presentation 


Week Four (February 1):

Film: Imagined Communities (39 min)

Primary Texts:    Joseph Addison, “Royal Exchange” [ER]

                      Richard Steele, “Inkle and Yarico” [OR 190-98]

   Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative [OR 310-25, 391-92, 458-63]

Artwork:  Exotic Tourism Ad [ER]

Context:  Historical Context on Slavery [OR 208-17, 326-34, 393-401]

Theorist:  Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities** [ER]

Optional Criticism:        Nell Boyce, “Out of Africa?” 2 pgs. [ER]

                             Peter Hulme, “Inkle and Yarico”** [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; & Group 2 Mini-Presentation 


Week Five (February 8):

Film: Edward Said on Orientalism (40 min)

Primary Text: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Part I [GT 27-89]

Context:  Christopher B. Fox Introduction [GT 3-22]

Theorist: Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography and Its Representations,” Orientalism** [ER]

Criticism: Deidre Lynch and William Warner, Introduction Cultural Institutions of the Novel [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Mini-Presentation


Week Six (February 15):

Primary Text: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Part II [GT 91-147]

Context:  Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather** [ER]

Theorist: Frantz Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness”** [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; Group 1 Mini-Presentation 


Week Seven (February 22):

Primary Text: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Part III [GT 205-66]

Context:  Laura Brown, “Reading Race” [ER]

Theorist: J. M. Coetzee, Lives of the Animals [ER]

Optional Critics: See the back of the Bedford Critical Edition**

Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; Group 2 Mini-Presentation 



Section Two: Inventions, Ideologies: Sexuality and Gender

Week Eight (March 1):

Winter Recess: Along with the homework below, reading part, if not all, of Clarissa or of Tristram Shandy over the break, and/or getting a start on your Research Proposal, is recommended to make the end of the term go more smoothly.


Week Nine (March 8):

Film: William Hogarth’s Marriage A-la-Mode (40 min)

Primary Texts:   William Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode [ER]

   Oliver Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield, Selections [ER]

 Eliza Haywood, Fantomina [ER; Biography Optional]

Context: “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Longman Anthology, Part III [ER]

Theorist: Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast” [ER]

Optional Theorists:  Mary Russo, “Female Grotesques: Carnival and Theory”** [ER]

                           Terry Castle, “Masquerade and Civilization”** [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Mini-Presentation


Week Ten (March 15):

Primary Text: Samuel Richardson, Clarissa [CL xix-172]

Context:  George Sherburn Introduction (v-xiv)

Criticism: Ian Watt, Rise of the Novel [ER~]**

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; & Group 1 Mini-Presentation


Week Eleven (March 22):

Primary Text: Samuel Richardson, Clarissa [CL 173-347]

Criticism: William Warner, “Elevation of the Novel” [ER]

Optional Criticism: Homer Brown, “Why the Story of the Origin of the (English) Novel Is an American Romance (If Not the Great American Novel)”** [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; Group 2 Mini-Presentation


Week Twelve (March 29):

Primary Text: Samuel Richardson, Clarissa [CL 348-516]

Criticism: Madeleine Kahn, Narrative Transvestism** [ER~]

Optional Criticism: Terry Eagleton, Rape of Clarissa** [ER~]

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Mini-Presentation


Week Thirteen (April 5):

Primary Text: Begin Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy [TS xii-153]

Context:  Howard Anderson Introduction

Criticism: Ann Bermingham, “Picturesque and Ready-to-Wear Femininity”** [ER~]

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; Group 1 Mini-Presentation


Week Fourteen (April 12):

Primary Text: Continue Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy [TS 154-306]

*Note: Of Book IV, read only Chpts. 10-14 & 31

Of Book V, read only Chpts. 2-14 & 31

Criticism: Select Norton Critics [TS  584-609; 623-39]

HOMEWORK: Research Proposal Due (also work on the Research Presentation and Paper)


Week Fifteen (April 19):

Primary Text: Finish Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy

*Note: Of Book IX, read only Chpts. 18-33

Criticism: Bonnie Blackwell, “Theater of the Mechanical Mother”** [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; Group 2 Mini-Presentation


Week Sixteen (April 26):

Research Presentations (Papers due Saturday, April 29, by 2PM, either under my office door, 603G Pray Harrold, or in by English Department mailbox, 612 Pray Harrold)  


[Syllabus last modified January 11, 2006]