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This course will consider the emergence of fictional prose narrative from older verse forms, which led to the mixture of genres and styles known as the ‘modern novel’. This evolution will be presented chronologically rather than teleologically: specific periods and authors will be considered in their own right. A wide range of texts will be surveyed. In seminars and assessed essays, students will be able to concentrate on certain types of literature and forms of approach. The examination will include gobbets of passages for analysis. Examination essay questions will also require display of a broader understanding of the topics introduced.

The course aims to have a broad appeal, with the following objectives:

  • To increase students' appreciation of the authors, periods and genres studied.
  • To help students studying modern European literatures to see for themselves the links between ancient and modern literary genres and forms of narrative.
  • To show the impact of broader cultural and historical concerns on the evolution of literary form.