fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Fall Quarter

Fall Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Liberal Arts & Sciences

LIT 222 — The Novel: An MLA-Style Course

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 24—Dec 3
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 7
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: Credit only; no NGR/letter grade
Tuition: $525
Instructor(s): Jeremy Sabol
Limit: 18
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 26
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 24—Dec 3
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 7
2 Units
Grade Restriction
Credit only; no NGR/letter grade
Jeremy Sabol
Please Note: No class on November 26
Please note: The course is open to students who have not previously enrolled in an MLA-style course through Stanford Continuing Studies.

Course description:

Human beings have been telling invented tales—what we now call fictions—for at least 2,500 years. Sometimes they look like plays, or romances, or novels, or movies. But one form of fiction has been dominant in Western culture from the Enlightenment through the 20th century: the novel. What is a novel, and why do we write and read novels? This course will examine the novel as a genre and consider its historical, thematic, and conceptual contours. We’ll wrestle with the problem of definition: Can “the novel” be coherently defined, and if so, what does this definition exclude? We’ll read classic novels, including Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist, and Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, as well as some more contemporary novels from around the world, including Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. and Morrison’s Song of Solomon. We’ll also read influential theories of the novel from thinkers like Lukács and Bakhtin, and test these theories against the novels we examine during this course.

This course aims to introduce those who are strongly interested in pursuing a degree in the Master of Liberal Arts Program to the kind of seminar they would likely encounter in the program. Students will face the same kind of intellectual challenges and opportunities to engage in weekly discussion. Students must take this course for credit, submit written work, and contribute to class discussions, as happens in all MLA seminars. However, this course may not be taken for a letter grade, though students’ written work will receive feedback. For more information on the MLA Program, please visit mla.stanford.edu.

Jeremy Sabol, Associate Director, Program in Structured Liberal Education

Jeremy Sabol specializes in early modern literature and philosophy, Cartesianism, and existentialism. He received a PhD in French from Yale.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Miguel de Cervantes (translated by Edith Grossman) , Don Quixote (Harper Perennial, 2005) (ISBN 978-0060934347)
(Required) Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin Classics, reissue edition 2003) (ISBN 978-0141439822)
(Required) Denis Diderot, (translated by David Coward), Jacques the Fatalist (Oxford World Classics, 2009) (ISBN 978-0199537952)
(Required) Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics, 2006) (ISBN 978-0141441146)
(Required) Fyodor Dostoevsky (Translated by David Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), Notes from the Underground (Vintage Classics, reprint edition,1994) (ISBN 978-0679734529)
(Required) Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Mariner Books, 1990) (ISBN 978-0156628709)
(Required) Samuel Beckett, Three Novels: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable (Grove Press, 2009) (ISBN 978-0802144478)
(Required) Clarice Lispector (translated by Idra Novey), The Passion According to G.H. (New Directions, 2012) (ISBN 978-0811219686)
(Required) Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (Vintage, reprint Edition, 2004) (ISBN 978-1400033423)
(Required) Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Anchor, 2011) (ISBN 978-0307477477)