San José State University
English and Comparative Literature

English 153A: The Eighteenth-Century British Novel

Section 1, Fall 2012


Dr. Noelle Brada-Williams

Office Location:

FO 110


(408) 924-4439


Office Hours:

Tuesday and Thursdays 3-4:30 PM, additional times by appointment

Class Days/Time/Location:

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30 -11:45 AM in BBC 120

Faculty Webpage:

Course Description

An examination of the origins of the novel in English, the class will read and analyze a sampling of works by the authors Austen, Burney, Defoe, Fielding, Haywood, and Richardson.  Topics may include the epistolary form and other techniques derived to evoke psychological realism or a sense of immediacy; claims the novel makes for its own kind of truth; novelists’ attempts to distance themselves from romance writers; and the 18th century concerns over changing conceptions of class, gender, and morality.  This semester we will focus on the biggest selling authors of the eighteenth century and those that have had the largest enduring impact both on the marketplace and on literature.

Departmental Student Learning Objectives and 153A Course Goals

Students will demonstrate the ability to

LO 1: read closely in a variety of forms, styles, structures, and modes, and articulate the value of close reading in the study of literature, creative writing, or rhetoric.  [In 153A we will focus on the form of the novel but also analyzing critical essays related to these texts.]


LO 2: show familiarity with major literary works, genres, periods, and critical approaches to British, American, and World Literature. [153A will emphasize the period between 1660 and 1832 but may reference texts which inspired 18th century English novelists such as Cervantes’ 1605 Don Quixote or the genre of romance which grew out of Medieval traditions.  The course may also reference novels that have been written since this period as a way of exploring the impact that these early practitioners of the English novel had on the form.]


LO 3: write clearly, effectively, and creatively, and adjust writing style appropriately to the content, the context, and nature of the subject. [All 153A assignments will be graded on writing skill as well as content.]


LO 4: develop and carry out research projects, and locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate information effectively. [English 153A seeks to hone students' reading, writing, researching, and critical thinking skills through the practice of intellectually challenging analyses.]


LO 5: articulate the relations among culture, history, and texts. [English 153A will focus on understanding the cultural and material contexts of eighteenth-century literature.]

Assignments and Grading Policy

Coursework includes reading assignments (see schedule below); one annotated bibliography and proposal, one 8-10-page formal literary analyses (which must include research); final exam composed of both essay and identification questions, and 6 one-page essays (one on each novel).  Late paper policy: keeping in mind the many emergencies and unforeseen events that can occur in the average SJSU student’s life, I have a very generous extension policy.  As long as you give me the request in writing—print or email— (complete with a new deadline) before the paper’s due date, most requests for an extension will be granted.  If the original deadline is passed by a student who has not received an extension or an extended deadline has been passed, 10% of the total points possible will be taken off for lateness up to one week, NO PAPER WILL BE ACCEPTED ONCE AN ORIGINAL OR EXTENDED DEADLINE HAS PASSED BY MORE THAN A WEEK. Extended or late papers will be graded AFTER on-time student work. Once incurred, late penalties will apply even to students who take an incomplete in the course.  Note that doing the reading and being able and willing to respond to the comments and questions of both the professor and your fellow students on a daily basis is a requirement of the course.  Reading quizzes and other in-class assignments will be given to ensure that students are indeed completing and understanding the readings.  These cannot be made up.  Due dates for all papers and the times for all exams are listed on the reading and assignment schedule at the end of the syllabus.

Proposal and annotated bibliography

1-page proposal & annotated bibliography of at least 5 sources [Mainly LO 3 & 4, but also 1, 2, & 5]


Research Paper

8-10 page analysis w/ research [Mainly LO 3 & 4, but also 1, 2, & 5]


Analyses (no research required)

6 one-page essays [LO 1 & 3, some 2 & 5]


Final Exam

Comparative essay and 5 I.D.’s [LO 1, 2, 3 & 5]


Reading Quizzes & other assignments

Class presentations/discussions/ quizzes/etc. during approx. 30 class meetings. [Mainly LO 1, 2 & 5]






The following statement has been adopted by the Department of English for inclusion in all syllabi:


In English Department Courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System").  Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure.


In written assignments for English 153A, this scale is based on the following criteria:

A [90-92=A-, 93-96=A, 97-100=A+] = Excellent: The "A" essay is articulate and well developed with fluid transitions and a clear and persuasive use of evidence, which is drawn from the literary text itself, lecture materials (when appropriate), and research materials. An "A" essay contains a fresh insight which teaches the reader something new about the subject matter.

B [80-82=B-, 83-86=B, 87-89=B+] Above average: The "B" essay demonstrates a good understanding of its subject, a clear and persuasive use of evidence, a certain level of ease of expression, and solid organization.  However, it usually lacks the level of originality and creativity that characterizes the insight found in an "A" essay.

C [70-72=C-, 73-76=C, 77-79=C+]  = Average: The "C" essay makes a good attempt at all the assignment's requirements.  It has a reasonable understanding of its subject matter but its ideas are frequently simplistic or over-generalized.  The writing style is also more bland and repetitive than the style shown by "A" and "B" essays and it often contains flaws in grammar, punctuation, spelling and/or word choice.  It may also use textual evidence out of context.

D [60-62=D-, 63-66=D, 67-69=D+] = Below average: The "D" essay is poorly organized and generally unclear.  It has inappropriate or inadequate examples, is noticeably superficial or simplistic, and/or contains some serious mechanical and grammatical problems.  A "D" essay may also reveal some misunderstanding of the assignment requirements.

F = Failure: An "F" essay has not addressed the requirements of the assignment and is unacceptable work in terms of both form and content.

Classroom Protocol

You are required to be courteous and professional to both classmates and the professor.  Most people take this as a requirement in their daily lives and this statement does not need to be reiterated here.  However, people sometimes forget that the classroom is a professional setting and rules that govern a business meeting apply here.  For example, devices such as cell phones need to be turned off; coming to class late is unacceptable.  If an emergency arises that requires your absence from class, please contact the professor.  Simply prioritizing your education behind other time commitments does not constitute such an emergency.  Participating in class discussions and listening to and taking notes on class lectures are absolutely necessary for the successful completion of this course. Protocol for written work requires that all quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks or, when more than three lines, put in an indented block. Full citation of the original author and source must also be included.  For all papers, review a writing handbook for help with quote integration, formatting & proper citation (most of you will have purchased one for your Freshman comp. classes).  Also see the University policy on “Academic Integrity” below for help defining and avoiding plagiarism of all kinds.

University Policies

Academic integrity

Your commitment as a student to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University.  The University’s Academic Integrity policy, located at, requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include your assignment or any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy S07-2 requires approval of instructors.


Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at to establish a record of their disability.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc.  Refer to the current semester’s Catalog Policies section at  Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic calendar web page located at  The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes. September 4th is the last day to drop in Fall 2012.


Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Six Required Texts/Readings

¨     Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Norton Critical edition (ISBN: 0-393-97751-X)

¨     Frances Burney, Evelina, Oxford 2nd Ed.  (ISBN: 978-0-19-953693-1)

¨     Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, Norton Critical edition (ISBN: 0-393-97862-1)

¨     Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Norton Critical edition (ISBN: 0-393-96594-5)

¨     Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess Broadview Press (ISBN: 1-55111-367-8)

¨     Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Abridged Broadview edition by Bowers & Richetti  (ISBN 978-1-55111-475-0) YOU MUST GET THE BROADVIEW ABRIDGEMENT OF CLARISSA—Check ISBN before purchasing.

¨     ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT: You need to make sure that your MySJSU account has your most accessible and current email address. 

It is crucial that you buy these exact editions! I may assign additional reading out of their critical and contextual material. The texts can be purchased at Spartan Books and Roberts Bookstore as well as via internet sellers listed at

You are also responsible for regularly checking the email address that you have given to Mysjsu for messages from the instructor.  If you change this address, you must inform Professor Brada-Williams immediately.


Course Number / Title, Semester, Course Schedule

List the agenda for the semester including when and where the final exam will be held. Indicate the schedule is subject to change with fair notice and how the notice will be made available.

Table 1 Course Schedule



Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines


August 23

Introduction to the course and the historical context.


August 28

Read volume 1 of Love in Excess (1-79), including the introduction.


August 30

Love in Excess, vol. 2 (81-159)


Sept. 4

Complete Love in Excess (161-266).  Analysis 1 on Haywood due


Sept. 6


Read Moll Flanders (to at least page 66). Also schedule time during the next twelve days to read one of the eleven works of criticism at the back of the Norton Critical edition.  You will need to write a rough summary (no more than a page of notes) of the essay so that you can present it orally to the rest of the class on September 18.


Sept. 11

Read Moll Flanders (to at least page 134).


Sept. 13

Read Moll Flanders (to at least page 201).



Sept. 18

Conclude discussion of Moll Flanders with a discussion of the various critical pieces we have read.  Analysis 2 on Defoe due.


Sept. 20

Read Clarissa, vol. 1 (25-135)


Sept. 25

Read Clarissa, (to page 245)


Sept. 27

Read Clarissa, (to page 361/to letter XXXIV)


Oct. 2

Read Clarissa, (to page 474)


Oct. 4

Read Clarissa, (to page 601)


Oct. 9

Complete Clarissa, (to page 722).  Analysis 3 on Richardson due. 


Oct. 11

No reading today.  In-class activity TBA.


Oct. 16

Read Tom Jones, Books I, II & III (to 99)


Oct. 18

Read Tom Jones, Books IV, V & VI (99-210)


Oct. 23

Read Tom Jones, Books VII, VIII & IX (210-337)


Oct. 25

Read Tom Jones, Books X, XI & XII (337-442)


Oct. 30

Read Tom Jones, Books XIII, XIV & XV (442-540)


Nov. 1

Complete Tom Jones (to 641). Analysis 4 on Fielding due.


Nov. 6

Read Frances Burney’s Evelina volume I (to page 133)


Nov. 8

Read Frances Burney’s Evelina up to volume II, letter XVI (to page 208)


Nov. 13

Read Frances Burney’s Evelina up to volume III, letter VI (to page 307)


Nov. 15

Finish Frances Burney’s Evelina volume III (to page 406 plus notes).  Analysis 5 on Burney due. 


Nov. 20

Proposal and annotated bibliography due.


Nov. 22

Thanksgiving Holiday—no class meeting


Nov. 27

Read Sense and Sensibility, Vol. 1. (to page 98).


Nov. 29

Read Sense and Sensibility, Vol. 2. (99-180).


Dec. 4.

Complete Sense and Sensibility (181-269).  Analysis 6 on Austen due.


Dec. 6

Review and conclusion of course. Research paper due.

Final Exam


Dec.17, Monday

9:45 AM to 12:00 noon in BBC 120.