Skip to main contentSkip Navigation or Skip to Content
Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ENGL 3841: The English Novel in the 18th Century

Students examine, in chronological sequence, the growth of the novel in eighteenth-century England, by looking at the relationship (sometimes hostile, sometimes sympathetic) between the novel and the traditions of comedy, romance, and epic. Topics include an examination of the relationship between the novel and journalistic prose, autobiography, and biography.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Communicate clearly, in writing, an informed opinion about the works themselves and the historical and philosophical context in which they were written.
  • Trace the development of the English novel in the 18th Century.
  • Identify and account for some of the concerns of 18th-Century novelists.
  • Demonstrate a capacity for a close critical reading of a literary text.

Course topics

ENGL 3841: The English Novel in the 18th Century includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Travelogues by Sea and Land
  • Unit 2: The “Personal History” and Pseudo-biography
  • Unit 3: Biography and Pseudo-biography
  • Unit 4: The Novel of Sentiment
  • Unit 5: The Gothic Novel

Required text and materials

Open versions of the following novels are provided in the course. If you prefer a printed book, we recommend the following editions for their explanatory notes and critical materials, but you can use any version.

  1. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, ed. Michael Shinagel (W. W. Norton Critical Edition)
  2. Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson, ed. William Sale (W. W. Norton Critical Edition)
  3. Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding, ed. Martin Battestin (W. W. Norton Critical Edition)
  4. Evelina or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World by Fanny Burney, ed. Edward A. Bloom (Oxford World's Classics, 2008)
  5. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (Oxford World's Classics, 2008); also, to be examined, the illustrations of George Cruikshank which were part of the Victorian reception
  6. Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne, ed. Katherine Turner (Broadview, 2003)
  7. Northanger Abbey (written in 1803, but published in 1817) by Jane Austen, ed. Susan Fraiman (W. W. Norton Critical Edition)

Excerpts of the following are supplied within the course.

  • The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett, ed. Evan Gottlieb (W. W. Norton Critical Edition—Volumes I and II)
  • The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
  • The Castle of Otranto
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho

Note: If you have questions about course textbooks or other materials, email


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Journal Entries Part 1 (submitted after Unit 1) 10%
Assignment 2: Essay on a Single Literary Text (1000 to 1500 words) 20%
Assignment 3: Journal Entries Part 2 (submitted after Unit 3) 10%
Assignment 4: Journal Entries Part 3 (submitted after Unit 4) 10%
Assignment 5: Research Paper (1500 to 2000 words)25%
Final Exam (mandatory) 25%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

Search To Top