Jul 14, 2024  
2013-2014 Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 337-01 - The British Novel I (Spring)

4 credits
Enlightenment and the British Novel: Conversations between Fiction and Philosophy from Locke to Sterne. In this seminar, we will examine several masterpieces of popular British prose fiction from the Restoration through the 1760s in the intellectual context of Enlightenment philosophy. During this era, authors of popular fiction (including John Bunyan, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Sarah Fielding, and Laurence Sterne), not only wrote in response to the dominant aesthetic, moral, political, and epistemological frameworks provided by contemporary philosophers, but also contributed to the development of modern philosophical argument by satirizing long-held assumptions about human nature, perception, subjectivity, morality, political economy, and the purposes of art. Some of these early novels, including Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling and Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, satirize contemporary and recent philosophers by name, inviting the reader to consider ways in which realistic fiction may constitute a new method for challenging philosophy with humor and sentiment. In conversation with these extraordinary works of fiction, we will also read excerpts from works by John Locke, George Berkeley, Lord Shaftesbury, David Hume, and Adam Smith. Students will write two short analytical papers and one substantial research project. 

Prerequisite: ENG 223  or ENG 224 .
Instructor: Shanafelt