Class Meeting Times: Th 5:00-7:40 (395 Millett)
Instructor: Dr. Crystal B. Lake (
Office Hours: make an appointment (availableT/Th 12:45-2:00 and Th 3:30-4:45 in 447 Millett Hall)
Twitter: @theinspirelab
Instagram: the.inspire.lab
Course Schedule
Dr. Lake’s Occasional Notes

Course Description: This course explores the history of the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century by paying particular attention to the term, “fictionality.” Of interest to narratologists, formalists, literary historians, linguists, and cognitivists, the term “fictionality” denotes the means whereby we recognize a particular statement, character, plot, or setting as invented or imagined but not as false or untrue. Literary historians who focus their studies on the rise of the novel have recognized that eighteenth-century texts prove to be ideal case studies for considering the techniques by which fictionality operates and the reading experiences it cultivates. With their uneven relationships to fables or romances, histories, news periodicals, biography and autobiography, satire, and sermons, in other words, eighteenth-century novels may be said to have carved out the concept of fictionality and experimented with a variety of modes for its expression. This course, then, will read canonical eighteenth-century novels alongside both critical accounts of the rise of the novel that attempt to map the novel’s generic boundaries as well as theoretical work on fictionality that seeks to identify fictionality’s unique qualities and aesthetic impacts.

Required Texts (please purchase these specific editions): 
Cheryl L. Nixon, ed. Novel Definitions
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)
Samuel Richardson, Pamela (1740)
Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote (1752)
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (1688)
Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Daniel Defoe, Roxana (1724)

Grading Criteria:
Participation: 15%
Collaborative Presentation: 20%
Weekly Discussion Questions: 20%
Seminar Paper (5,000-6,000 words including works cited) + 250 word abstract: 50%

Course Policies:

Attendance: Because this is a graduate seminar, it is crucial that you attend every class session. You may miss one class session without penalty; after the first absence, however, your grade will be lowered according to the percentage of the class you have completed by attending. For example, if you miss three total classes (out of our 13 scheduled class sessions), you have attended 77% of the class, and you can expect to see 23% deduction from your final grade that takes into account the number of classes you have missed. Therefore, if you earn a grade of 92% (A), your final grade will be lowered to 70.8% (C). Your participation grade will also suffer. If you have an emergency that will keep you from attending class, please let me know as soon as possible. I can’t promise that I will accommodate you, but I may be able to help you get in touch with Student Services; they’ll help you to complete this and the other courses that will have been affected by your emergency. Please note, however, I will do this only in the direst of circumstances (a death in your immediate family, a major illness requiring hospitalization, etc).

Class Ethos: This course emulates professional climates in order to prepare you for work outside of the college classroom. Please approach your relationship with your professor, your peers, and your readings and assignments as if you were in a professional setting. You might imagine, for example, that class sessions are like business meetings where we meet to establish facts and best practices, brainstorm ideas, conduct critical conversations, learn to navigate rules and procedures, and strategize about fulfilling project goals. You should come to class sessions prepared, then, to offer productive comments on assigned readings, respond to your professor and peer’s ideas with thoughtfulness and respect, and ask questions that are meaningful. You should avoid inviting speculation about your work ethic that will inevitably arise if you seem distracted by electronic devices like cell phones and laptops, if you seem unprepared, if your personal life consistently interferes with your work, if you cannot stay on task during small-ground activities, and if you are unable to meet deadlines. Likewise, you should undertake work for the course – ranging from assigned readings to in-class activities to written assignments – as if you were conducting that work in a professional environment where your performance will be evaluated and decisions about promotions and projects will be based on the competencies and professionalism you demonstrate.

Turning in Work: Work is due at the time and day and in the format as stated on the course schedule or assignment page. Technological difficulties such as a broken printer, a failed hard drive, or a disrupted internet connection are not acceptable excuses for late work. I recommend that you complete and print work that must be turned in on paper at least 24 hours before the deadline and that you use cloud storage to save your work. Use a stapler if your work on paper is more than one page.

I do not accept late work either in hard copy or via email, and I only make exceptions to this policy for documented emergencies requiring intervention from Student Services (a death in your immediate family, a serious illness requiring hospitalization).

Academic Integrity: Here is WSU’s academic integrity policy. Assignments submitted by students that violate this policy will automatically be reported and assigned a grade of 0.

Students with Disabilities: If you anticipate needing accommodation for a disability in this course, please register with the Office of Disability Services and plan to meet with me during the first week of classes to talk about how we can work together to ensure your success in the course.

Social Media Policy: I may share examples of student work on both the website as well as on Inspire Lab’s social media accounts (listed above). I will only tag you or include an image of your face or person with your permission. If you are concerned about your work appearing publically on social media sites where it may be shared by others, please let me know. Please also treat the social media and online activities of this course in your own social media and online engagement with a similar kind of care.

Policy on Recordings/Dissemination: Please do not make audio or visual recordings of class lectures, discussions, or activities; with permission and on a case by case basis, you may take pictures of notes on the board as well as share course materials and coursework online.