ENGL 657 Calendar

NB: This is provisional, and I’ll be adding links to supplemental readings, adding and deleting supplemental readings, and fleshing out the assignment into, etc.

Week 1, Jan 21

Please read and bring to class the following pieces, which will be emailed to you in advance of the first meeting:

Ian Watt, “Realism and the Novel Form” from The Rise of the Novel

Roland Barthes, “The Reality Effect

 Week 2, Jan 28

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811), Volume I and II, 1-191

Walter Scott, from “The Journal of Sir Walter Scott” (1826)

Scott, from “The Quarterly Review” (1815)

George Levine, “Realism” from The Realistic Imagination (1981), 3-22

 Week 3, Feb 4

Austen, cont., Volume III, 193-end

Alex Woloch, from The One vs. the Many

Rae Greiner, from Sympathetic Realism in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction

 Week 4, Feb 11

Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot (1835), 1-126 (parts 1 and 2)

Balzac, “General Preface” (1842)

Erich Auerbach, from Mimesis

 Week 5, Feb 18

First Post due by noon

Balzac, cont., 127-217 (parts 3 and 4)

Carlo Ginzburg, “Killing a Chinese Mandarin: The Moral Implications of Distance”

Lilian Furst, from All Is True: The Claims and Strategies of Realist Fiction

 Week 6, Feb 25

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, The Jew’s Beech Tree

 Friday, February 27, short assignment due by midnight

 Week 7, Mar 4

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1856), parts one and two, pp. 1-204

Week 8, Mar 11

Meet in the library (room tbd) for a research methods workshop led by Ms. Rachel Arteaga, from the Merriam Library. This will be most useful to you if you bring ideas—even vague ones—for a project topic

Spring Break

Week 9, Mar 25

Flaubert, cont., 205-311 (end)

Fredric Jameson, “The Realist Floor-Plan”

Hans Robert Jauss, from An Aesthetics of Reception

 Week 10, Apr 1

Second Post due by noon

George Eliot, Middlemarch (1871-72), 1-499 (books 1-5)

 Week 11, Apr 8

Eliot, cont., 503-785 (books 6-8)

Catherine Gallagher, “George Eliot: Immanent Victorian”

 Week 12, Apr 15

Émile Zola, Nana (1880), 19-241 (chapters 1-7)

Zola, “Preface” to Thérèse Raquin (1867) [Read “Preface to the Second French Edition”]

Zola, The Experimental Novel (1880)

 Week 13, Apr 22

Week 14, Apr 29

Zola, cont., 242-470 (chapters 8-end)

Christopher Hill, “Nana in the World”

Annotated bibliography due by midnight Friday May 1

 Week 15, May 6

Third and final Post due by noon

Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying

Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction

David Shields, from Reality Hunger

 Week 16: Finals Week: May 13

Final Paper Due on Wednesday of Finals Week

Be prepared to briefly present your work to the class. After all have presented, we’ll have a final discussion about how our projects have addressed the problem of realism. In other words: Show up, bring your work, and we’ll chat! Email papers to me before the start of class.


One thought on “Calendar”

  1. I suppose with the cancellation of class and being bogged down with multiple papers from all my seminars, the third post has evidently slipped my mind, but judging from the home page of this website, I appear to not be the only person that forgot? I found some of the ideas from Wilde and Woolf to be compelling. Especially Woolf’s idea of the mind being reality—and her bold claim that Joyce is more of realist than any of those other novelists. Although this is of course true—that reality exists inside (and perhaps this is the only certain reality), but I would contend that the world outside of our own minds is also worthy of examination—and while the realists were concerned with the world outside of the mind, and the modernists were concerned with the inside of the mind, it seems to me that a literary depiction of reality would a balance between the two. The world affects the mind and the mind interprets the world. They seem to constantly be informing each other and imposing on each other—as if to say that without the mind the world would not exist to our own individual perception, and without the world the mind would have no ground on which to stand. They are interrelated and reliant on each other.
    It has always fascinated me that the mind can be so elusive when it is readily available. How has philosophy been so unable to define man? All the information we need is within our own experience. It is remarkable that this experience, ever-present and right at our doorstep, remains undefinable and mysterious. And the world as well!—the world is ever-present to our experience and examination, so how is it that these two elements are so mysterious to us? It seems that realist literature should seek to answer these questions. Ultimately the world and the mind coexist, and the extremism of both the realists and the modernists must find a medium. Perhaps this is the next step for literature: examining how the world imposes itself on the mind, and how the mind devours the world with experience and curiosity. I think I’ll have my poetry aim for that.


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Associate Professor of Literature :: Yale-NUS College

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