course shell:

online syllabus:

Description: In the ninth thesis of his 1940 essay “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” the German critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, who purchased the print in 1921, interprets it this way:

A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.[1]

office hours:

603c pray harrold hall

Tues 3:15–5:15 
Tues & Thurs 3:15–3:45 
Thurs 9:10–9:30

~email for appointments~

Literature 563

Novel Geographies:

Studies in Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Fall 2017

Dr. Abby Coykendall

Title: Félicien Rops Pornocrates 1878 - Description: Pornocrates, PornokratŹs, La dame au cochon, or The Lady with the Pig is a work by the Belgian artist Félicien Rops, created in 1878. It is part of the collection of the Musée provincial Félicien Rops in Namur, Belgium.

Section # 17479

Thursday 6:30–9:10pm

Pray-Harrold Hall 318

“This is how the angel of history must look. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin. ... The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm … irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.” — Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”

Literature 563: Novel Geographies: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Perhaps more than any other era, the eighteenth century represents a watershed moment, one that we must periodically revisit to interrogate, fully and frankly, the conditions of our own.  While often considered the quaint tea-and-crumpets blueprint for civil societies across the globe, the British enlightenment in fact witnesses both the positives and the negatives of modernity in the extreme. Alternately hailed as the “Age of Reason” and the “Age of Exuberance,” the period thrives on experimentation and extremity, with conspicuous consumption and unfettered commerce—most notably, in the transatlantic traffic of human beings—going hand in hand with an enlightenment ethos of progressive humanism that has since overshadowed the exploitation that enabled it. In midst of this global expansion and birth of the market economy, and the development of an increasingly rigid sex-gender system culminating in “Angle of the House” domesticity, we find a celebration of art and culture that students of literature, and particularly of the novel, still cannot help but admire.

As befits the period, the enlightenment novel ranges in genre from the most depraved gothic extravagance to the most scrupulously dogmatic neoclassical “epic in prose.” We will thus survey a wide variety of para-novelistic genres in relation to the novel proper (periodicals, travel narratives, epistolary works, criminal biographies) to understand how that important literary vehicle was first engineered over the course of this period in conjunction with its target audience, the middle class. Throughout the term, the emphasis will be what Edward Said calls “imaginative geographies,” specifically the ways in which the British novel of this period inflects the stories that we come to tell of the self, of the nation, and of the larger global community.

Course Books and Materials:

Bring copies of the required readings with you to class. You will need everything on hand for groupwork and class discussions. Some required materials, and many supplemental materials, will be available in the course shell, printable from any campus computer: (see the “Files” folders). The books pictured below must be purchased separately, whether from Ned’s, the EMU Bookstore in the Student Center, or online merchants (Amazon, Powell’s, etc.). Make sure to get the correct edition by double checking the ISBN number, a fingerprint of sorts for the specific book. You will need to have the same page numbering as the rest of the class so as to be (literally) on the same page.

Companion to the Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture, ed. Paula R. Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia (Blackwell, 2009; ISBN #1405192453)

Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, ed. Katherine Turner (Broadview, 2010; ISBN #1551118882)

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, ed. John Richetti (Penguin 2003; ISBN #0141439823)

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford 2014; ISBN 0198704445)

Frances Burney, Evelina, ed. Vivien Jones (Oxford 2008; ISBN #0141439823)

Maria Edgeworth, Belinda, ed. Kathryn J. Kirkpatrick (Oxford, 2006; ISBN #0199554684)

Instructor Availability:

I will be delighted to discuss any course-related questions, interests, or concerns during my office hours, as well as at any time through the course shell or email ( Emails with straightforward questions usually receive a reply within a few hours to a day; those with thornier issues usually receive a reply within a week. Please limit inquiries to those that I alone can answer so that I can give more pressing issues of other students the attention that they deserve. If, for example, you are unsure about a due date, consult the syllabus, course shell, or peers in your group, and then email only if the confusion persists. 


Nothing is more vital for success in this course than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the reading assignments and class discussions each day. The more actively that you participate, the more closely that the course content can reflect your unique needs and interests.

See the “Modules” link in the course shell, or the detailed Schedule below, for the reading and homework assignments due each week. For most of the semester, we will be covering large portions of the novels (averaging around 100 pages), together with select theoretical or scholarly works. Eighteenth-century novels tend to be on the bulky side, so be prepared to do a fair amount of interesting yet time-consuming reading. We will read one regular-sized novel, two short novels, and two novels that are properly eighteenth century in length.

Consult with me as early as possible in the term to brainstorm possible topics for the research paper, which constitutes a large proportion of the final grade, with the weekly homework coming in a close second. There will not be any formal, comprehensive exams in this class; nonetheless, you must be able to draw knowledgeably on the weekly readings for homework assignments and in-class activities, and to integrate a selection of these readings in your final research paper.

Homework assignments will be due almost every week to ensure ongoing preparation for and participation in class. In any given week, depending on your group number, you may be applying the theory to the novel in critical responses; composing discussion questions on the required readings; or presenting quotations to your peers from scholarly databases or recommended materials. See the “Weekly Homework Tasks” page in the course shell for details.

Assessment Weights:


Homework & Participation

min length:

due date:


Research Paper Proposal

5 pages
(2500 words)

Dec 2
(9 am)


Presentation on Research Project

10 minutes

Dec 14


Research Paper

15–20 pages
(4700–6000 words)

Dec 19
(9 am)

Group Assignments:

The groupwork is simply a way to organize which set of students do which assignments with which materials each week, thus diversifying the issues highlighted during class discussion, the students bringing them to our attention, as well as the skills used to do so. Most classes will consist of interactive discussions stemming from the groupwork.

Group 1

Last name begins with A–Bi


Group 4

Last name begins with L–Rex

Group 2

Last name begins with Bj–H


Group 5

Last name begins with Rey–Z

Group 3

Last name begins with I–K




There is no “groupwork” in the sense that you must collaborate with your peers on the same project or meet with them outside of class. At most, you will need to ensure that you are not covering the same text or topic for homework and rely on each other for notes or for other information when one of you must be absent.


This class is meant to be a welcoming educational experience for all students, including those who may have various challenges or disabilities that impact learning. If you find yourself having difficulty participating and/or demonstrating knowledge in this course, please feel free to contact me to discuss accommodations, even if you currently lack a Disability Resource Center (DRC) accommodation letter. You can also contact the DRC directly to talk about accommodations (487-2470; 240K Student Center;

Grading Scale:
























Because this course primarily consists of reading and discussion—rather than facts, figures, or memorization—regular attendance is crucial. Failure to participate regularly in class makes achieving course objectives difficult and, eventually, impossible. Reserve absences for illnesses, car troubles, or other unforeseen emergencies preventing you from coming to class, and make sure not to exhaust your allowable absences too early in the term.

Attendance will be taken both before and after the break, and tracked weekly for you in the course shell. Anyone who misses TWO classes for any reason will have their final grade reduced by a full mark (for example, lowered from A to B, or B to C), and any student who misses THREE or more classes will become ineligible to pass.

When you must be absent, contact other students in your group to get copies of notes or determine what you missed. Unforeseen changes to the schedule will be sent to the class as a whole by email, and any missed homework will simply be due upon your return, although you will need to do a critical response instead of discussion questions, quotations, or like homework tasks that you had been assigned, per the “Weekly Tasks” instructions.  

Note that you are never required to explain why you are absent. I will always assume that you have an excellent reason to miss class. Health issues and the like are private matters that you have no obligation to share or explain and may well prefer to keep confidential.


The most essential information—due dates, assignment instructions, clarification of issues—is given at the beginning of class, so it is important to come on time. Make sure to leave early just in case you encounter any problems along the way (traffic jams, slow buses, no parking).

When you must be late, it is your responsibility to sign the attendance sheet to avoid being marked absent. Arriving well into the period, or exiting well before its conclusion, counts as half an absence. One such partial absence rounds down (thus not factoring at all), but two such on two separate occasions combine together into a single absence—your maximum number for the term.

You may at times have understandable reasons to be late; however, habitual lateness routinely interfering with your learning or disrupting class activities will eventually compound into half or full absence(s) and therefore potentially impact your final grade.

Classroom Etiquette:

It is important to be mindful of your peers during class time, listening to them with the same respect and attention that you hope to receive when you yourself speak. Once class begins, do not distract your peers by walking in or out of the room, unless there is a genuine emergency. If you have a medical condition requiring you to leave the room occasionally, definitely bring an accommodation letter attesting as such; otherwise, conduct ALL personal business during the break or outside of class time.

Disruptive exits can be both mental and physical. Students conspicuously unprepared to discuss the materials for the day, or discovered using laptops or phones for purposes unrelated to the course, may be asked to leave and marked absent.

This course has a NO-LAPTOP, NO-CELL-PHONE POLICY with the sole exception of required course readings. Students consulting cell phones or other devices for other purposes may be asked to leave. Store such devices inside your bag (and put them on silent mode) during class time unless specifically asked to use them to look something up.

Academic Integrity:

Understanding and avoiding academic dishonesty, and doing all of the coursework on your own, is imperative. Copying the homework of peers, having someone else do your assignments, submitting essays written for other classes in this class for double credit, and, of course, plagiarism are all forms of academic dishonesty that will not be tolerated and may prevent you from passing.

Plagiarism, put simply, is taking either the IDEAS or the WORDS of another person and recycling them as if they are your own. You must acknowledge when you are drawing on the thoughts and/or expressions of other people, under any circumstances and without any exception. For example, if you insert the words of someone else into your own writing, you must credit that person for the passage and place quotation marks on either side: So and so says “X.” When you paraphrase, or describe someone else’s ideas in your own words, you must also credit that person, albeit minus the quotation marks: So and so says X. Without those acknowledgements, others’ unique conceptualization and/or construction of ideas will pass as your own by default. And any writing that thus seems to be your own, without actually being your own, is plagiarizing the original source.

All instances of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will result in an automatic 0% grade for the assignment. Any instances of academic dishonesty in the seminar paper will result in outright failure of the course; so too will any two instances of academic dishonesty on two different assignments, however minor either may be.

Plagiarism by its very nature leaves a trace. It should never be found in any assignment that you submit. Make absolutely sure that your work is plagiarism-free before turning it in, for there will be no exceptions to this policy.

Academic Resources & Campus Safety:

Students are encouraged to come to the University Writing Center (115 Halle Library; 487–0694; at any stage of the writing process, which offers one-to-one writing consulting for both undergraduate and graduate students. You can make appointments or drop in (M–Th 10–6; Fri 11–4). A Pray-Harrold satellite is in room 211 (M–Th 11–4). The Academic Projects Center (116 Halle, offers drop-in consulting on writing, research, and technology-related issues (M–Th, 10–5). Bring a draft of your writing and any relevant instructions or rubrics to the consultation.

Call 48–SEEUS (487–338) for the campus escort service, Student Eyes and Ears for University Safety. If you sign up for the emergency text-messaging system (, DPS will notify you of any danger afflicting the campus.

Swoop’s Pantry (104 Pierce, 487–4173, offers food assistance to all EMU students who could benefit. You can visit twice per month to receive perishable and non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, baby items, and more. 

University Policy:

In addition to the course-specific policies and expectations above, students are responsible for understanding all applicable University guidelines, policies, and procedures. The EMU Student Handbook ( gives you access to all University policies, support resources, and your rights and responsibilities. Electing not to access the link above does not absolve you of responsibility. Changes may be made to the EMU Student Handbook whenever necessary, and shall be effective when a policy is formally adopted and/or amended. For questions about any university policy, procedure, practice, or resource, please contact the Office of the Ombuds (Student Center 248; 487–0074, or visit the website (




Online Handouts and Links:

Course Shell:                    

Course Syllabus:              

Professor Home Page:    

Professor Faculty Page:  



Schedule for Literature 563 (Fall 2017)

*All readings, besides the novels, are located in the ”Files” folders of the course shell ( or in the Companion to the Eighteenth-Century (“CEC”).

Week 1 (September 7): Overview of Course and Period

Course Introduction; Student Introductions; Conjectural Response

Week 2 (September 14): Various Authors

Context:    “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Parts I & II, from Longman Anthology

Theory:    Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone”

Fiction:     Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (1716+)

                 The Spectator: Richard Steele, “Inkle and Yarico,” #11, and Joseph Addison, “Royal Exchange,” #69 (1711)

                 Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African (1789)

Recommended: Aravamudan, “Montagu in the Hammam,” and Kader Konuk, “Ethnomasquerade

Optional Context: Montagu (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry)

HomeworkDQ (Group 1); Response (Group 2); Research (Group 3); Reply (Group 4 [due next week]); Recommended (Group 5)

Week Three (September 21): Defoe I

Context:    Felicity Nussbaum, Introduction to Global Eighteenth Century

Theory:    Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography and Its Representations,” Orientalism 

Fiction:     Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (first half, plus intro)

Criticism: Peter Hulme, “Robinson Crusoe and Friday,” and Roxann Wheeler, “‘My Savage,’ ‘My Man’”

Recommended: Lynn Festa, “Making Humans Human,” Sentimental Tropes of Empire

HomeworkDQ (Group 2); Response (Group 3); Research (Group 4); Reply (Group 5); Recommended (Group 1)

Week Four (September 28): Defoe II

Theory:    Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

Texts:        Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (second half)

Criticism: Robert Markley, “Crusoe’s Farther Adventures and the Unwritten History of the Novel” (CEC 25–47)

Recommended: Joseph Campana, “Cruising Crusoe,” and Jooma, “Robinson Crusoe Inc(corporates)”

HomeworkDQ (Group 3); Response (Group 4); Research (Group 5); Reply (Group 1); Recommended (Group 2)


Week 5 (October 5): Burney I

Fiction:        Frances Burney, Evelina (1778)

Theory:       Ann Bermingham, “Picturesque & Ready-to-Wear Femininity” 

Criticism:     Franco Moretti, Atlas of the European Novel

Recommended: Bowers, “Representing Resistance: British Seduction Stories”  (CEC 140–64) 

* HomeworkDQ (Group 4); Response (Group 5); Research (Group 1); Reply (Group 2); Recommended (Group 3)


Week 6 (October 12): Burney II

Fiction:        Frances Burney, Evelina (1778)

Theory:       Deidre Lynch,  "Agoraphobia and Interiority in Burney's Fiction" (Abridged)

Criticism:     Devoney Looser, “Women, Old Age, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel” (CEC 299–320)

Recommended: Lanser, “Of Closed Doors and Open Hatches: Heteronormative Plots in Eighteenth-Century (Women’s) Studies”

* HomeworkDQ (Group 5); Response (Group 1); Research (Group 2); Reply (Group 3); Recommended (Group 4)


Week 7 (October 19): Walpole

Fiction:       Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (1764)

Theory:      Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History

Criticism:   E. J. Clery, The Rise of Supernatural Fiction

Recommended: George Haggerty, “Queer Gothic”  (CEC 383–98)

* HomeworkDQ (Group 1); Response (Group 2); Research (Group 3); Reply (Group 4); Recommended (Group 5)


Week 8 (October 26): Class Cancelled for Conference


Week 9 (November 2): Sterne I

Fiction:       Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768), first half of novel and first half of the appendix

Theory:      Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett, Destination Culture (Abridged)

Criticism:   Elizabeth Bohls, “Age of Peregrination: Travel Writing and the Eighteenth-Century Novel” (CEC 97–116)

Recommended: Helen Thompson, “Sentimental Fiction of the 1760s and 1770s”

* HomeworkDQ (Group 2); Response (Group 3); Research (Group 4); Reply (Group 5); Recommended (Group 1)


Week 10 (November 9): Sterne II

Fiction:       Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768), second half of novel and second half of the appendix

Theory:      Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, Gigantic, Souvenir

Criticism:   Markman Ellis, Chapter 2, The Politics of Sensibility: Race, Gender and Commerce in the Sentimental Novel

Recommended: Bonnie Blackwell, “Theater of the Mechanical Mother”

* HomeworkDQ (Group 3); Response (Group 4); Research (Group 5); Reply (Group 1); Recommended (Group 2)


Week 11 (November 16): Edgeworth I

Fiction:       Maria Edgeworth, Belinda (1801), first half

Theory:      Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast”

Criticism:   Andrew McCann, “Conjugal Love and the Enlightenment Subject”

Recommended: Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic

* HomeworkDQ (Group 4); Response (Group 5); Research (Group 1); Reply (Group 2); Recommended (Group 3)


Week 12 (November 23): Fall Recess


Week 13 (November 30): Edgeworth II

Fiction:       Maria Edgeworth, Belinda (1801), first half

Theory:      Nancy Armstrong, "Polygenetic Imagination"

Criticism:    David Francis Taylor, “Edgeworth’s Belinda and the Gendering of Caricature”

Recommended: Suvendrini Perera, Reaches of Empire

* HomeworkDQ (Group 5); Response (Group 1); Research (Group 2); Reply (Group 3); Recommended (Group 4)


December 1 (by midnight): Proposal due in course shell


Week 14 (December 7):  Individual Conferences in Lieu of Class (see Schedule in course shell)


Week 15 (December 14): Research Presentations 


December 17 (by noon): Seminar Papers Due in course shell



 [Syllabus last modified October 8, 2017]