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Centres and Institutes

The novel and its others

Course Not Running 2014/15
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of a course, a student should be able to demonstrate . . . 

  • an understanding of the novel as a genre in different historical, geographical, and cultural contexts, and of the critical and theoretical debates surrounding the genre.
  • the ability to offer sustained analysis of novels from a number of historical periods, and to compare novels from different periods and contexts.
  • critical and close reading skills in written responses to course material, including attention to language registers.
  • participation in seminar discussions on themes addressed by the course.
  • awareness of the transnational dynamics of the novel as a genre, and of the importance of local context, audience, and traditions.


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

Drawing upon Michael McKeon’s dialectical and Mikhail Bakhtin’s dialogical approaches, this course explores the trajectories of the novel as a genre in connection with surrounding discourses and genres. This approach allows us to see the novel as a genre that crucially stages and mediates competing discourses and positions on the individual, relationships, and on the world. It also allows to envisage the journey of the novel genre outside Europe not as a “compromise” between a European form and local realities (Franco Moretti) but as the further staging of key issues that the genre is called upon to grapple with, and as further mediations between existing and new local and cosmopolitan discourses.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%); a 1,500 - 2,000 word essay to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 2 (20%); a 1,500 - 2,000 word essay to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 3 (20%); continuous assessment formed of 2 short essays (1,000 - 1,500 words each) to be submitted after reading week in term 1 and term 2 and group discussions in tutorials (10%).