San José State University
English and Comparative Literature

English 153A, The Eighteenth-Century British Novel

Section 1 Fall 2010


Dr. Noelle Brada-Williams


Office Hours:

Monday and Wednesdays 1-2:30 PM in Faculty Office Building (FOB) 110, additional times by appointment



(408) 924-4439


Mondays and Wednesday 9:00-10:15 AM in Sweeney Hall 229

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, 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.

Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives

1.  To gain an awareness of the origins of the novel in English.


2.  To gain an understanding of the cultural and material contexts of eighteenth-century literature.


3.  To strengthen our abilities to engage literary text and to analyze both its form and content as well as its historical contexts.

4.  To hone students' reading, writing, researching, and critical thinking skills through the practice of intellectually challenging analyses.

Course learning objectives 1-3 will be accomplished through the readings and class discussions while the written work will allow us to accomplish objective 4 and to assess our level of accomplishment in objectives 1-3.


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 5 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. 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


Research Paper

8-10 page analysis w/ research


Informal responses

5 one-page essays


Final Exam

Comparative essay and 5 I.D.’s


Reading Quizzes & other assignments

Class presentations/discussions/ quizzes/etc. during 30 class meetings






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 Policy on Academic Integrity

Students should know that the University’s Academic Integrity Policy is availabe at Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University and the University’s integrity policy, require 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 website for Student Conduct and Ethical Development 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 in your assignment any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy F06-1 requires approval of instructors.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, etc. Information on add/drops are available at . Information about late drop is available at . Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for adding and dropping classes. Note that September 7th 2010 is the last drop without a “W.”  The instructor of this course will not automatically drop you if you do not show up.  Dropping is your responsibility.

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 DRC (Disability Resource Center) to establish a record of their disability.

Library Liaison for English & Comparative Literature:

Contact Toby Matoush via email:, or phone: (408) 808-2096 if you have library research questions that have not been answered in class. 

Student Technology Resources

Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin Luther King Library.

SJSU Writing Center

The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall.  It is staffed by professional instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges. The writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The Writing Center website is located at

Five Required Texts:

¨      Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Norton Critical edition (ISBN: 0-393-97604-1)

¨      Frances Burney, Evelina, Bedford Cultural edition (ISBN: 0-312-09729-8)

¨      Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Norton Critical edition (ISBN: 0-393-96452-3)

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

¨      Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Abridged Riverside edition  (ISBN: 0-395-05164-9)

¨      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


English 153A: Eighteenth-Century British Novel

The Bestsellers

Fall 2010 Course Schedule

The schedule may vary depending on the needs of the class or scheduling issues.  Any changes will be reported in class and via the email you have registered with MySJSU.


 Tentative List of Readings & Assignments (additional reading of criticism will also be required)


August 25: Introduction


August 30: Read Robinson Crusoe to page 56.

September 1: Read Robinson Crusoe to page 110.


September 6: LABOR DAY

September 8: Read Robinson Crusoe to page 165.


September 13: Complete Robinson Crusoe (to 220). Essay #1 on Robinson Crusoe due.

September 15: Read abridged  Clarissa through page 71.


September 20: Read Clarissa through page 146.

September 22: Read Clarissa through page 219.


September 27: Read Clarissa through page 295.

September 29: Read Clarissa through page 366.


October 4: Read Clarissa through page 443.

October 6: Complete Clarissa. Essay #2 on Clarissa due.


October 11: Read Tom Jones, Books I & II (to page 77)

October 13: Read Tom Jones, Books III & IV (to page 136)


October 18: Read Tom Jones, Books V & VI (to page 210)

October 20: Read Tom Jones, Books VII & VIII (to page 314)


October 25: Read Tom Jones, Books IX & X (to page 365)

October 27: Read Tom Jones, Books XI & XII (to page 442)


November 1: Read Tom Jones, Books XIII & XIV (to page 507)

November 3: Read Tom Jones, Books XV & XVI (to page 569)


November 8: Complete Tom Jones (to 641). Essay #3 on Tom Jones due.

November 10: Read Frances Burney’s Evelina volume I (51-177)


November 15: Read Frances Burney’s Evelina up to volume II, letter XVI (to page 248)

November 17: Read Frances Burney’s Evelina up to volume III, letter VI (to page 341).


November 22: Finish Frances Burney’s Evelina volume III (to page 436) Essay #4 on Evelina due.

November 24: Proposals and Annotated Bibliographies due


November 29: Read Pride and Prejudice, Vol 1 (3-89)

December 1: Read Pride and Prejudice, Vol 1I (89-158)


December 6: Read Pride and Prejudice, Vol. III (158-254 complete novel) Essay #5 on Pride and Prejudice due

December 8: Research Paper Due. Continue Review for final exam this day.

Final Exam:

Friday, December 17th 7:15-9:30 AM