Given that the word “novel” means “new,” it should not be surprising that the novel as a literary form is constantly re-inventing itself and exploring new ways of telling stories about individuals and their societies. This course will ask what exactly was new about the novel when it first appeared on the literary scene in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. We will read examples of picaresque, epistolary, and gothic novels including Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk among others. As we consider what characterizes these disparate works as novels, we’ll examine why and how the novel developed as a genre during the eighteenth century. We’ll also consider how these early novels differ from the novels with which we’re familiar as twenty-first-century readers. To build a vocabulary for analyzing novels, whether early or recent, we’ll discuss brief excerpts from critical studies such as Ian Watt’s Rise of the Novel. Course requirements will include several short response papers, a midterm and a final exam.