Spring 2022 Undergraduate English Courses

358:242 Introduction to the Novel

01  TF2  10:20-11:40 AM  CAC   08242  SPELLMEYER  SC-119

Modern novels are society thinking out loud—and also in intimate privacy. They arrived on the scene about four centuries ago with a rising middle class that aspired to create a better world. Older literary forms simply couldn’t compete: novels created a mass audience bigger than anything seen in the past because they were a new kind of “technology”: readers could now visualize in their minds different routes to happiness, love, success, friendship, and even wisdom. Better yet, as readers watched the “movies” in their heads, they could imagine themselves to be alone with the author, one-on-one. And the authors became their confidants, teachers, allies, and therapists, all rolled into one. Now, going into their fifth century, novels still play an indispensable role because they remind us, like nothing else, of our power to become the “authors of our own lives.”

We will explore what novels are, and how they do the amazing things they do, by looking carefully at six of them: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, Tony Morrison’s Sula, James Welch’s Fool’s Crow, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.