Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Theories of the Novel

I'm gearing up to teach The British Novel to 1800 this fall (we're on a quarter system and so don't start back until after Labor Day), and I've been re-reading various histories/theories of the novel: Bakhtin, Watt, McKeon, Spencer, and Armstrong. After reading the introduction to McKeon's The Origins of the English Novel and then skimming some reviews of the book, many of which predict the "replacement" of Watt's model by McKeon's--an accurate prediction, at least to some extent--I wondered whether McKeon's is still the dominant one. Is there a particular study of the novel that is especially convincing to you? Which model of the novel's development do you present when you teach the novel?