This course will introduce you to three exemplary early novels: Don Quixote; Joseph Andrews; and Tristram Shandy. Discussions will focus on the poetics of the novel as a literary genre and the problems associated with its emergence in England. Insofar as the English tradition is concerned, we’ll study the connections between empiricism, individualism, and the rise of middle-class values and mentality in the English novel. But this course has a larger frame of reference. It starts with the culture of the printed book in Europe, and explores the formal connections between the novel and other genres (epic, history, satire): the main focus of attention will be on humor, parody, and trans-national historical affinities, from Cervantes to Sterne. Our main objective is to read the primary texts, grasp the large literary issues, and learn the critical vocabulary related to the genre of the novel. Successful completion of the course will enable you to understand better the subsequent history of the novel, the rise of realism, and how the unfinished form of the novel encourages aesthetic experimentation. 329 is an upper-level English course with a substantial reading load. Requirements and grading: brief assignments on each major novel, quizzes, participation, attendance (20% of your course grade), midterm (40%), final examination (40%). Midterm and final will consist of both short-answer questions and an essay, each part having equal weight. (Specifics will be announced by mid-quarter.) Reading List: Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, tr. John Rutherford. Penguin. Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela. Norton Critical Edition. Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy. Penguin Classics. I recommend those three editions but you can use any inexpensive edition you can find at the local bookstores. There will be a course packet containing excerpts from other authors and some criticism (mostly online readings).