HS 832: Theories of the Novel

The birth and evolution of the novel have been characterised by an inherent potential for eclectic assimilation and a resistance to canonical regulations. Since its inception, this genre has frequently shown a tendency to reinvent itself by experimenting with form. This course aims to  

  • study the development of the genre of the novel with specific and historically-oriented emphasis on such pre-twentieth century experimental milestones as Tristram Shandy and Wuthering Heights;

  • consider major theoretical studies of the novel with special emphasis on Bakhtin`s theory of dialogism;

  • locate the development of the genre within some important twentieth-century sub-genres like the Stream-of-Consciousness Novel/Intertextual Novel/ Metafiction/Magic Realism; and

  • study at least two novels (Modernist/Postmodernist), which illustrate a new frontier in fiction as it developed in the twentieth century.


Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction, Methuen, New York, 1987. 

David Lodge, Ed., Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader, Longman, London and New York, 1988. 

Linda Hutcheon, Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox, 1980, Methuen, London and New York, 1984. 

M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, Ed. Michael Holquist, Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1981. 

Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction, 1961, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1968.