Main Reasons for the Growth in Popularity of Novels

ENGL 311 Midterm Study Guide:

Be sure that you have read each of the three novels and noted passages that you think are particularly indicative of a particular concept relating to 18th literature that we have been discussing this semester.

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Oroonoko (entire novel)

Robinson Crusoe (entire novel)

Gulliver’s Travels (“Publisher to the Reader” pp. 2-9 and Part 1 pp. 1-95)


Slide Shows: (on Moodle)

Introduction (Week 1)

Rise of the Novel Chapter 1 (Week 2)

Rise of the Novel Chapter 2 (Week 2)


Your Notes


Ideas/Concepts/Questions to consider: (be sure to think about specific examples from the novels when appropriate)

· What are the different ways to date this period (the 18th century) and what are some of the implications of one dating period over another?

· What are some of the main reasons for the growth in popularity of novels at this period in time?

· What role(s) or purpose(s) did novel serve?

· What are some key things to know about class and gender during this period, and especially in connection to the novel/reading?

· In what way (according to Watt) was realism a key aspect of the novel? What does he mean by “formal realism”?

· Be prepared to discuss and provide examples for each of the five characteristics that Watt explains are part of the novel of the 18th century:

Challenge to literary traditionalism

Particulars in character and setting




· How do demographic issues (class, gender, urban/rural) influence who is reading? How does this influence what is being written?

· How do the novels reflect attitudes toward slavery and/or colonialism (or imperialism) at this time?

· How do religion and capitalism intersect?

· How do novels portray religious and political issues of the day?

· Discuss the previous period of literature (neoclassicism) to the new period of literature (the novel).

· Why do so many of the novels call themselves a history?

· How does satire work?For more information on Main Reasons for the Growth in Popularity of Novels read :

Main Reasons for the Growth in Popularity of Novels

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