Archived Versions

21L.471 Major English Novels

As taught in: Spring 2009

A book, open-faced, in a woman's lap, her hand turning the page.

A woman reading a novel. (Image courtesy of anna_t's on flickr.)




Prof. Ina Lipkowitz

Course Description

In this class, you will read, think about, and (I hope) enjoy important examples of what has become one of the most popular literary genres today, if not the most popular: the novel. Some of the questions we will consider are: Why did so many novels appear in the eighteenth century? Why were they—and are they—called novels? Who wrote them? Who read them? Who narrates them? What are they likely to be about? Do they have distinctive characteristics? What is their relationship to the time and place in which they appeared? How have they changed over the years? And, most of all, why do we like to read them so much?