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ENGLISH 360B: History and Theory of the Novel: Foundations (COMPLIT 360B)

Can the novel, as genre, be conceptualized or critically synthesized? This course will approach such a daunting question from its two necessary starting-points: fiction and theory. On the one hand, we'll take up several of those major novels that have so often been viewed as aesthetically foundational: most likely Don Quixote, Emma, Madame Bovary and The Brothers Karamazov. On the other hand, we'll read the major theoretical statements of Lukacs (Theory of the Novel, Studies in European Realism, The Historical Novel) and Bakhtin (The Dialogical Imagination, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics), as well as text-specific criticism. This small group of texts might be seen as both necessary and insufficient to the largest questions of the genre. Our focus will be on closely reading and engaging each text in its inviting and demanding singularity and in building an open, imaginative and wide-ranging dialogue between fictions and theories. (This course might be followed by a class the next year on History and Theory of the Novel: Experiments, extending these questions in a number of further formal, geographic and chronological directions).
Terms: Win | Units: 5
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