Spring 2023 Undergraduate English Courses

358:242 Introduction to the Novel

01  TTH5    CAC   05393  SPELLMEYER  HH-A4

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. And as readers watched the “movies” in their heads, they could also imagine themselves to be alone with the author, one-on-one. The author became their confidant, teacher, ally, and therapist, all rolled into one. Today, 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 five of them: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, Tony Morrison’s Song of Solomon, and James Welch’s Fools Crow.

Requirements include two papers, a weekly journal, and a final exam.