The novel and its others

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Centre for English Studies

Module overview

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • an understanding of the novel in different historical, geographical, and cultural contexts, and of associated critical and theoretical debates.
  • 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

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 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 (worth 50%)
  • Two summative essays of 1,500 words (worth 20% each)
  • Two formative pieces of writing of 750 words (feedback only, no numerical mark): format and content to be decided by students in discussion with lecturer
  • Preparation and participation in classroom discussion (worth 10%)

Suggested reading

In this module, we will read a range of novels written from around 1700 to the present day. A detailed module reading list will be circulated in Week 1 of Term 1. In preparation for the module, students might want to take a look at one or more of the following critical works, though this is not a prerequisite.

  • William B Warner, Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684-1750 . U of California P, 1998. Available for free here .
  • Margaret Ann Doody, The True Story of the Novel . Rutgers UP, 1996.
  • Michael Schmidt, The Novel: A Biography . Harvard UP, 2014.
  • Thomas G Pavel. The Lives of the Novel: A History . Princeton UP, 2013.
  • Terry Eagleton. The English Novel: An Introduction . Wiley, 2004.
  • Firdous Azim. The Colonial Rise of the Novel . Routledge, 1993.
  • Various, eds. The Oxford History of the Novel in English . Oxford UP, 2011- (a multivolume series covering various dimensions of the novel form and its development)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules