The Novel & the Invention of the Modern

Subject 673-350 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 12.5 points of first year English Literary Studies or Creative Writing

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


John Frow

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the novel as a key genre within the ongoing history of modernity. It will trace formal and thematic developments within the genre in its current form from the early 19th century to the present. It will analyse how the novel has registered social and cultural changes, characteristic of modernity, over that period focusing on the novel's representation of everyday life especially as organised through class and sexuality. It will also address such matters as the genre's increasing cultural value and the transformations of its relations to other media, old and new. It aims to provide students with a general map of the novel's history against the backdrop of a society undergoing modernisation.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will be familiar with some of the most important novels of the past two centures as well as their critical heritage;
have developed a broad understanding of the novel's evolution in thematic and structural terms from the eighteenth-century;
be able to analyse transactions between an evolving literary genre and social and cultural changes;
have a strong sense of the wider context of the novel's cultural importance.

Written work of 4000 words consisting of an essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester) and a final essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of the semester).

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Notes from Underground (Dostoevsky)
  • Middlemarch (Eliot)
  • Portrait of the Artist (Joyce)
  • A Passage to India (Forster)
  • To the Lighthouse (Woolf)
  • The Sound and the Fury (Faulkner)
  • Dr Faustus (Mann)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (Marques)
  • The Way of the World (Recommended Reading: Moretti)
  • The Dialogic Imagination (Bakhtin)
  • The Theory of the Novel (Lukacs)
  • Deceit, Desire and the Novel (Girard)
  • Desire and Domestic Fiction (Armstrong)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;

  • communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.


Formerly available as 106-017 and as 106-408 The Novel & the Invention of the Modern. Students who have completed 106-017 or 106-408 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major

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