Novel Theory (Q3312)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module links study of the novel as a form to big questions in critical and cultural theory. How do novels encode different ideas of ‘truth’? What part has the novel played in political struggles? How has the changing status of the novel through time interacted with its class, race and gender associations?

Focusing on a small range of novels from the eighteenth to the late-twentieth century, we will explore different definitions and traditions of ‘realism’, problems of narration, narrator and point of view, novelistic subjectivity, and changing philosophies of causation, history and authorship.

Novelists studied previously on this module have included Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, George Gissing and Alice Walker. Theorists previously studied include Gérarde Genette, Mikhail Bakhtin, Nancy Armstrong, György Lukács, Fredric Jameson and Kyla Schuller. It is recommended, but not required, that you will have taken The Novel in Year 2. 


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Presentation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: