2008 AM Historical Novels

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  • Time: Tuesdays 10-12 am

Course Description

The historical novel is one of the classical subgenres of the modern novel. This course will introduce students to the beginnings and the early history of the genre. In the first half of the semester, we will read Walter Scott's Waverley (1814) and become familiar with the main characteristics of a genre which invites its readers to reflect on the relation in which their romantic past stands towards their current modernity. In the second half of term, we will encounter a set of shorter eighteenth-century texts which were also called 'historical novels', although they were not at all concerned with 'history' in the modern sense. We will analyse a selection of these texts, attempt to identify their generic features and examine their differences to the modern form. In doing so, we will also seek to understand the developments that led from one type of historical novel to the next. By the beginning of term, students should have purchased and read Walter Scott, Waverley; or, 'Tis Sixty Years Since, ed. Claire Lamont, Oxford World's Classics, Oxford University Press, 1998. As introductory reading please consult the essays by Borgmeier and Trevor-Roper (cf. below, reading materials)

Course Requirements for credits as a Aufbaumodul:

  1. Regular attendance and active participation (you may miss up to two meetings, whatever the reasons).
  2. An oral presentation of ca. 20 minutes that will form the basis for your subsequent term paper (you present information and develop an argument that must allow you to formulate research questions concerning a particular text and topic, which will then be discussed by the seminar).
  3. A term paper (generally dealing with one or several of the issues raised in your oral contribution; length ca. 10 pages; deadline September 1, 2008).


  • Fulfilling all three requirements successfully will earn you a total of six credit points towards your module (6 KP)
  • Fulfilling only the first two requirements will earn you a total of three credit points towards your module (3 KP).















Reading Materials

Trevor-Roper, Hugh. "The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland." The Invention of Tradition ed. Eric Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1st. ed. 1983, repr. 2003. 15-42.

Borgmeier, Raimund. "Das Gattungsmodell: Sir Walter Scott, Waverley (1814)". Borgmeier, Raimund / Reitz, Bernhard (ed). Der historische Roman. 19. Jahrhundert. Heidelberg: Winter (1984).

Hayden, John O., ed. Scott. The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970, 67-84 (section on Waverley).

Dekker, George. “The Waverley-Model and the Rise of the Historical Romance.” The American Historical Romance. New York, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, 29–72.

Bann, Stephen. "The Sense of the Past: Image, Text, and Object in the Formation of Historical Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century Britain." The New Historicism. Ed. Aram Veeser. New York: Routledge, 1989, 102-115.

Garside, Peter. “Popular Fiction and National Tale: Hidden Origins of Scott's Waverley.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 46 (1991): 30-53.

Scheiding, Oliver. "James Fenimore Cooper und Sir Walter Scott: Entwürfe nationaler Leitfiguren im Spiegel der amerikanischen Literaturkritik des 19. Jahrhnderts.

Some 'Historical Novels':

Tachmas Prince of Persia (1676).

Tudor Prince of Wales (1678).

The Unequal Match (1680).

The Reviv'd Fugitive (1690).

Don Sebastian King of Portugal (1692).

The Life of Mary Stewart (1729).

The Oppressed Captive (1757).

The Count de Rethel, vol. 1 (1779).

The Count de Rethel, vol. 2 (1779).

The Count de Rethel, vol. 3 (1779).

The Siege of Belgrade, vol. 1 (1791).

The Siege of Belgrade, vol. 2 (1791).

The Siege of Belgrade, vol. 3 (1791).

The Siege of Belgrade, vol. 4 (1791).

Netley Abbey, vol.1 (1795).

Netley Abbey, vol.2 (1795).

The Duke of Clarence, vol. 1 (1795).

The Duke of Clarence, vol. 2 (1795).

The Duke of Clarence, vol. 3 (1795).

The Duke of Clarence, vol. 4 (1795).

Charles Dacres, vol. 1 (1797).

Charles Dacres, vol. 2 (1797).

Jaquelina of Hainault, vol. 1 (1798).

Jaquelina of Hainault, vol. 2 (1798).

Jaquelina of Hainault, vol. 3 (1798).