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The English Novel | [The Great Courses]

The English Novel

Who can imagine life without novels? They have served not merely as diversions but as companions for so much of our lives, offering hours of pleasure and, at their best, insights few of us can ever quantify. But the simple joy of reading novels sometimes obscures our awareness of the deeper roles they play in our lives: honing our intellect, quenching our emotional thirsts, and shaping our sense of ourselves and of the world we live in.
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Publisher's Summary

Who can imagine life without novels? They have served not merely as diversions but as companions for so much of our lives, offering hours of pleasure and, at their best, insights few of us can ever quantify. But the simple joy of reading novels sometimes obscures our awareness of the deeper roles they play in our lives: honing our intellect, quenching our emotional thirsts, and shaping our sense of ourselves and of the world we live in. And this may be especially obvious in the case of the English novel, as you'll see in this engaging series of 24 lectures from an award-winning teacher.

Under Professor Spurgin's guidance, you'll learn how the period that gave rise to the novel in England corresponded with a convulsive social transformation - one that produced the world's first modern, capitalist economy. Along the way, traditional social values often appeared to be outdated, as did traditional narrative forms.

You'll see how the great English novelists were eager to create something new and different, breaking from traditions in which stories were usually centered on aristocrats and nobles to focus instead on the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people and taking pains to capture the rhythms of everyday life. At the same time, they also reacted to a number of larger developments: industrialization and urbanization, democratization and globalization.

By placing more than two centuries of great English novelists in the context of British history and showing how their lives intersected with the creation of their art, these lectures offer a fascinating look at a form of enduring popularity and importance whose influence has been felt everywhere novels are read.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

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