From Romance to Novel

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From Romance to Novel explores the development of the novel and different narrative styles from the medieval roman, or romance, to the first novel (17th century), to famous novels of the 20th century. We will track elements integral to the medieval romance, such as betrayal, separation, conflict, and the roles assigned to different genders, and see how these themes are elaborated in novels from the modern period, which focus on love against the backdrop of war. By the end of the semester, we should possess an understanding of how classical and medieval tropes and narrative strategies have informed the modern novel, how the modern novel has evolved, and how different styles and narrative points of view influence our understanding of the novel. Readings may include Beroul’s Tristan and Isolde, Madame de Lafayette’s The Princess of Cleves, Dickens’ A Tale of two Cities, Frazier’s A Cold Mountain, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Ondaatje’s The English Patient, and Barker’s Regeneration.