This seminar aims to explore the intersections of gender discourses and the genre of the novel in eighteenth-century literature. As new, dichotomous conceptions of gender/ gender relations emerge, women play an essential part in the highly political field of the novel (especially the sentimental novel): as middle-class characters claiming universal moral standards, as subjects undergoing processes of learning and identity formation and at the same time transgressing gender boundaries, but also as both empirical and implied readers. Finally, women self-consciously position themselves as professional authors. This broad range of issues will be studied taking into account, for instance, recent research on the discourse of identity as well as socio-economic studies of authorship in the eighteenth century.
Preliminary reading (please obtain your own copy):
Samuel Richardson, Clarissa (Penguin Classics; abridged version possible); Frances Burney, Evelina (Oxford Classics). Further primary and secondary reading will be made available via moodle.