2008 AM Historical Novels
- Time and Location: Tuesdays 10-12 am, A01 0-004
- Language tutor office hours: Tuesdays 5-6 pm, A6 2-211
- Tutorial: Tuesdays 6-8 pm, A6 0-009
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:
- Regular attendance and active participation (you may miss up to two meetings, whatever the reasons).
- 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).
- Joining one of three 'expert groups'.
- 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 four requirements successfully will earn you a total of six credit points towards your module (6 KP)
- Fulfilling only the first three requirements will earn you a total of three credit points towards your module (3 KP). [For students who plan to take 3 KP it is especially important to be active in an 'expert group'.]
There are three Exptert Groups that deal with specific topics, questions and problems related to the various historical novels encountered throughout the seminar. These are Writing of History, Problems of Genre and Textual Analysis
Distribution of Presentations. Constitution of Expert Groups.
Skills and Goals in presentation and discussion.
(Distribution of Presentations. Constitution of Expert Groups [Group 1: The Writing of History, Group 2: Problems of Genre, Group 3: Textual Analysis].)
Problems and what to do with them: achieving a research-oriented perspective (1) : History and Theory
- Read and discuss: 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.
- What is the actual history of the Scottish Highland population and of their dress and customs? What is their actual significance in Scottish history?
- How did the kilt and the tartan come to be associated with traditional Scotland?
- What questions follow from the information presented by Trevor-Roper?
- What consequences could this have for our thinking about history, and about the historical novel?
Problems and what to do with them: achieving a research-oriented perspective (2): Genre perspectives
- Read and discuss: Borgmeier, Raimund. "Das Gattungsmodell: Sir Walter Scott, Waverley (1814)". Borgmeier, Raimund / Reitz, Bernhard (ed). Der historische Roman. 19. Jahrhundert. Heidelberg: Winter (1984).
- What are the specific genre-attributes of a historical novel, according to Borgmeier?
- What does Borgmeier say about Scott's models, and about the tradition of the historical novel?
- What are the characteristic ways of referring to real historical events and real historical persons, according to Borgmeier?
- At what points does Borgmeier simply present information, and at what points does he engage in a critical debate about the interpretation of the text?
- Can you see any problems that Borgmeier's essay might raise for the context of our seminar?
"Sixty Years Since" - Past and Present in Waverley (historical background, plot structure and historical characters and events in Waverley)
Presentation: Vivien Baldwin, Marion Canisius, Andreas Sprenkel
Waverley and his Women: The role of the hero, the role of the female protagonists, and the romantic plot.
Presentation: Katharina Bohn, Katrin Gerdes, Sara-Lena Braasch
Scotland vs. England in Waverley: The Representation of Space and the Ideology of the Text
Presentation: Alex Lanzel and Hanna Suhling
Please read the following passages and think about the questions for each one:
1) p. 32-33 "It was about noon..." to "...and acquired information of a hardy, intelligent, and reflecting peasantry." - How are the Lowlands/Scotland represented in this passage? What does Scott think about Scotland?
2) p. 96-97 "The apparatus for dinner..." to "...so many bold and attached followers." - What is shown about clan mentality? What is their importance/how do they work?
3) p. 246-247 "Colonol Talbot became more kindly..." to "...the name of Miss Mac-Jupiter." - What does Colonol Talbot think about Scotland?
Discussing the historical novel: Preface and "postscript" to Waverley, and Prefaces to earlier Historical Novels.
Presentation: Claudia Kulina, Frederike Holzmann
Please read Waverley: Chapters I and XXV (last chapter: "A postscript that should have been a preface") and the general preface (pp.349-361)
Please scan read the prefaces of: Mary Stewart: pp. 1-38 Unequal match: pp.1 and 2 Charles Dacres: pp.4-13
[Historical Novels of the late 17th and early 18th century I - selection from texts below]
Presentation: 'Tacmas - Prince of Persia' (1676) Sebastian Brinkmann
Presentation: 'Tudor Prince of Wales' (1678) Boy R. Petersen
[Historical Novels of the late 17th and early 18th century II - selection from texts below]
Presentation: Claudia Kühn, Katrin Menzel
Please have a closer look at "Tachmas" from the beginning to page 14 and "Tudor" from page 7 to page 16.
1. for whom were these pieces written?
2. the intentions/roles of the pieces at that point of time?
3. what strategies do they use to make the pieces look good (interesting, exciting,...)?
Make an educated guess.
[Historical Novels of the later 18th century I - selection from texts below]
Presentation: Hanno Jansen, Julian Richter
[Historical Novels of the later 18th century II - selection from texts below]
Presentation: Daniel Buse,Ying Huang
Feedback on Course Evaluation. - Final discussion.
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.
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.
Some 'Historical Novels':