Some books which provide a general background to the history and development of the novel in Britain are:
Forster, E.M. Aspects
of the Novel
Frye, Northrup. Anatomy of Criticism
Humphrey, Robert. Stream of Consciousness in the Modern Novel
Leavis, F.R. The Great Tradition
Lubbock, Percy. The Craft of Fiction
Lukacs, Georg. The Theory of the Novel
Nabokov, Vladimir. Lectures on Literature
Schwarz, Daniel R. The Transfomation of the English Novel, 1890-1930.
Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel
For the most part these are general histories of the novel as a form and won't focus on individual novels read for this class. They will however, greatly increase your understanding of the novel as a form. Most of these works are considered "classic" studies and I recommend you look at a couple of them over the course of the semester.