Curriculum Guideline

Studies in British Literature: The History of the British Novel

Effective Date:
Course Code
ENGL 2119
Studies in British Literature: The History of the British Novel
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  • Lecture/discussion;
  • Group work;
  • Peer editing;
  • Group or individual presentations;
  • Independent research;
  • Instructor feedback on students’ work; and
  • Individual consultation.
Course Description
This course traces the history of the British novel, emphasizing the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Course Content

All second-year English literature courses share the following features:

  1. Students are presumed to be proficient in the writing of critical essays on literary subjects.
  2. Students are required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor or discussed in class.
  3. Students are required to incorporate into their oral and written coursework secondary source materials. These may include autobiographical or biographical material; literary criticism or theory; unassigned texts by the author under study; relevant cultural or intellectual history; or other arts, such as music, film, or fine arts.
  4. Readings and topics will vary with each instructor’s presentation of a course; however, all course materials are consistent with the objectives/outcomes for this course.

In English 2119, students will examine a selection of novels from the 18th century onward, in order to trace the features and stages of the British novel as an evolving genre within its historical and social contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of any second-year English literature course, the student should be able to

  1. use with increased proficiency the skills of literary analysis taught in first-year English courses;
  2. recognize the significance of the literary and non-literary or cultural context of a work being studied, such as the biographical, historical, mythological or philosophical context;
  3. read critically and use in essays secondary sources, such as criticism and other texts by the same author, as an aid to comprehending the primary text(s) being studied;
  4. read critically and independently works or aspects of works not discussed in class; and
  5. formulate a thesis on a given subject in one or more specific works, and to develop this thesis using suitable textual evidence.

Upon completion of English 2119, the student should also have a deepened understanding of

  1. different strategies of narrative development in fiction;
  2. the elements of fiction, such as plot, setting, character, and point-of-view;
  3. some of the major forms in the history of the British novel, such as picaresque, the epistolary novel, domestic fiction, the novel of manners, and social criticism; 
  4. patterns of both continuity and change within the genre of the British novel; and
  5. the exploration and interpretation of theme, including themes significant to the history of the British novel, such as the relationship between the individual and society. 
Means of Assessment
  1. A minimum of two formal academic essays, with a combined value of at least 40% of the course grade.
  2. A minimum of 80% of the course grade will be based on writing assignments (essays, essay-based exams, journals, paragraphs).  A maximum of 20% of the course grade may be based on informal writing (quizzes, short answer tests); oral reports/presentations; participation/preparation grades; and/or other non writing-intensive assignments.
  3. A minimum of 15% of the course grade will be based on in-class writing (essay or exam).

According to the College Evaluation Policy, the final grade awarded to each student shall consist of at least three separate assignments. No single assessment will be weighted at more than 40% of the final course grade.

Textbook Materials

Sample reading list:

  • Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  • Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Bronte, Jane Eyre
  • Dickens, Great Expectations
  • Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Conrad, Nostromo
  • Weldon, The Heart of the Country

Any two university-transfer first-year English literature courses, or one university-transfer first-year English literature course and one university-transfer first-year Creative Writing or English writing course.