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Callaway Center S105
Content: This course will offer a survey of the eighteenth-century British novel. A touchstone for our discussions will be John Locke's reinvention of the human mind, in his 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding: "Let us then suppose the mind to be...white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished?" Locke's answer to this question-"experience"-had an enormous impact on the intellectual landscape of the century that followed. On the one hand, Locke's argument that our ideas are derived from the senses suggested that men and women are the products of their own experience, and thus have, in some measure, the power to shape their own lives. On the other hand, the shaping power that Locke attributed to experience conjured up the danger that our minds and our lives are always at the mercy of various external forces: including family and friends, enemies and competitors, as well as an array of social, cultural, and political settings and institutions. More than any other form of literary expression in the eighteenth century, the novel took up the challenge of imagining and embodying-even at times resisting-the power of experience.
Texts: We will study the novels of Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, and Jane Austen, among others.
Particulars: Attendance and active class participation are required; written work will include a combination of exams and essays.
The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.