From Satire to Sensibility: Literature 1660-1789
- (Year 2, Semester 2)
- Credits: 20
- Convenor: Professor Philip Shaw
- Course code: EN2050
This module has three aims:
- To introduce students to a wide variety of authors crucial to the development of the cultural and political landscape of modern Britain (the period covers the literature of the Restoration and the subsequent 'ages' of neo-classicism and sensibility);
- To foster an awareness of different genres (chiefly, the rise of satire and dramatic comedy, the development of the novel, and, in poetry, the shift from formal precision to self-conscious expressionism);
- To enhance understanding of the cultural and intellectual issues shaping the works (e.g. the split between court and popular culture in the Restoration; the 'rise of the novel'; the development of print culture; public and private spheres; gender and genre.
Students will study a selection of the following:
- the writings of the 1660s and 1670s to elicit instances of the clash between Puritan seriousness and the licentious scepticism of the newly restored court.
- The comic plays of writers such as Etherege and Wycherley will be studied as examples of new developments in drama, following the reopening of the theatres in 1660. Treatments of gender and sexuality will be examined in these comedies.
- The development of the novel and periodical (genres which drew upon the energy and enterprise of the rising middling classes) will be explored through the writings of Defoe, Haywood and the polite essays of The Spectator.
- Augustan writers such as Swift and Pope offer the opportunity to consider the tensions between the paradigms of wit and politeness.
- The attempt to resolve the internal contradictions of the period is further manifested in two interlocking trends: the eighteenth-century search for a view of humanity that transcends politics and social division (Johnson) and a subsequent fascination with the individual and the authority of emotion (Gray, Burney).
In addition to providing students with an introduction to the work of the major authors of this period, lectures will encourage students to look closely at formal developments, to be aware of the influence of intellectual and socio-historical factors and to consider recent critical approaches.
In seminars students will be required to reflect on their reading of the main authors, engage in detailed close-reading of texts, and participate in informed discussion with their peers.
By the end of the module students will be able to...
- distinguish and define the main literary convention of the period;
- link the literary texts to the intellectual and political debates of the period;
- demonstrate the ability to present a coherent argument on a topic related to the content of the course;
- demonstrate the ability to engage with texts on a detailed level, analysing elements such as diction, rhetorical techniques, and tone.
- One textual analysis exercise of 1000 words on a passage from one author to be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 26 March 2012 (20%);
- An examination with two questions (80%).
Taking together all the elements of the assessment, students must demonstrate substantial knowledge of the works of at least 4 authors. Note that for this purpose Addison and Steele count together as one author, given their collaborative journalism. The textual analysis exercise is intended to provide students with the opportunity to practise the close-reading skkills needed in written work across the BA course.
Check which tutor you have been assigned. Each tutor will post a list on Blackboard of the primary sources, drawn from the list below, which they will be covering in seminars. We recommend that you try to read a range of primary and secondary texts, not simply those covered in your seminars, and that you attend all lectures to give a sense of context for the period. You should refer to Blackboard for further critical reading lists and critical material.
Addison & Steele, The Spectator
Primary Text: The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from the Tatler and the Spectator, ed. by Erin Mackie (London, New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1998). This edition also contains several works by Pope, Swift and Defoe (poetry and prose essays), and offers a wealth of contemporary resources within which to situate early eighteenth-century texts. See also, The Spectator, ed. Douglas F. Bond (5 vols). Online texts: The Spectator Project, http://tabula.rutgers.edu/spectator/project.html
Texts: Evelina, or The history of a young lady's entrance into the world (choose either the Penguin, the Oxford, or the Norton edition), and as a supplement to this, Journals and Letters (London: Penguin, 2001) is also very useful.
Texts: Robinson Crusoe, (Penguin or Oxford); Roxana (Penguin or Oxford); Moll Flanders (Penguin or Oxford); Journal of the Plague Year (Penguin or Oxford). You will probably be studying only one or two of these in seminars, but should make the effort to read more widely.
Drama (notably Etherege, Wycherley)
Texts: Three Restoration Comedies, ed. by Galmini Salgado (Penguin) contains both The Man of Mode and The Country Wife. You may also wish to look at Restoration Plays, ed. R.G. Lawrence(Everyman); Five Restoration Comedies (New Mermaid) - includes Etherage's The Man of Mode; William Wycherley, The Country Wife and Other Plays (Oxford World's Classics); The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama, ed. J. Douglas Canfield (Broadview).
Text: Fantomina and Other Works, ed. Alexander Pettit et al (Broadview). This is by far the best edition to use, since it has extensive notes and a useful introduction. There is also a facsimile edition posted on Blackboard (from ECCO). You should also explore Haywood's other works, available in Selected Fiction and Drama of Eliza Haywood ed. Paula Backscheider (Oxford University Press)
Texts: The History of Rasselas (Penguin), Selected Writings (Penguin) - includes The Vanity of Human Wishes.
Texts: A cheap edition is The Concise Pepys ed. by Lord Braybrooke, which is fine for basic seminar work but needs to be used with awareness of its faults. For assessed work, it is best to consult The Diaries of Samuel Pepys: A Selection ed. by Robert Latham and William Matthews (the older edition is called The Shorter Pepys or The Diary of Samuel pepys: A New and Complete Transcription, ed. by Latham and Matthews). The latter is the full 11 volumes text with notes.
Texts: Selected Poetry or Alexander Pope, ed. by Pat Rogers (Oxford Authors). Selected Poems, ed. by Douglas Brooke-Davies (Everyman). This edition does not include 'An Epistle to Bathurst'.
Texts: The Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, ed. David Vieth (Yale University Press); The Works of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, ed. by Harold Love (Oxford University Press).
Texts: Gulliver's Travels ed. by Robert Demaria (Penguin). Selected Poems, ed. by Michael Bruce (Everyman). Major Works, ed. by Angus Ross and David Woolley (Oxford).
Later Eighteenth-century Poetry (including sensibility)
Texts: The Thomas Gray Archive, ed. by Alexander Huber, http://www.thomasgray.org/ is a good starting point. Selected Poems of Thomas Gray, Charles Churchill and William Cowper, ed. by Katherine Turner (Penguin Classics) is particularly recommended. You may also find these editions useful: Selected Poems, ed. by Robert L. Mack (Everyman); Thomas Gray: Selected Poems ed.by John Heath-Stubbs (Carcanet); The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith (Longman)
Mary Leapor, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Hannah More
Texts: Eighteenth-Century Women Poets: an Oxford Anthology, ed. by Roger Lonsdale; Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose ed. by W. McCarthy and E. Kraft; The Works of Mary Leapor ed. by R. Greene
Lectures 2012 - check Blackboard for 2013 times, venue and running order
|Introduction: Samuel Pepys (Diary of Samuel Pepys)||KL|
|Wit and Libertinism: Restoration Theatre (Etherge, The Man of Mode; Wycherley, The Country Wife||KL|
|Screening of The Country Wife|
|Context I: Literature and Philosophy||MD|
|Context II: Literature and Social Status||KL|
|Defoe (Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Roxana)||KL|
|Context III: Literature and Gender||FJ|
|Haywood (Fantomina: The Tea-Table)||MD|
Pope ('An Essay on Criticism'; 'The Rape of the Lock';
|Textual Analysis Workshop|
|Swift (Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal)||KL|
|Johnson (Rasselas, selected poetry and journalism)||PS|
|Sensibility I: Thomas Gray ('Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College', 'Elergyy Written in a Country Churchyard', 'The Bard')||PS|
|Sensibility II Women poets (Mary Leapor, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Hannah More)||FJ|
|Burney (Evelina, selected diary entries)||FJ|