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English 4320: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
Spring 2014

Dr. Paula R. Backscheider
9082 Haley Center
(334) 844-9091
Office Hours: Thursday, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.


Conquest and Captivity in Love and War

By 1800, one-fourth of the world's population was under British control, and Great Britain was close to achieving the status of "the sun never sets on the British Empire." This course will explore the consequences of the imperial mentality especially as it influenced the treatment of subject people and as it crept from the public into the private domain, including courtship and marriage.  Special topics will include novels about North America written by British journalists and fiction writers and the ways popular culture and propaganda contributed to the abolition movement. At the theatre, audiences stood and sang, "Britannia rules the waves,/ .../ Britons never, never shall be slaves," and oceans make up 71% of the earth's surface.  Great Britain was the greatest slave trading nation in the history of the world while celebrating its Magna Carta, the most important document in the history of democracy.  At some point in its history, Britain has invaded all but twenty countries in the world.  Readings will include novels, plays, nonfiction, and poetry.  Required: active discussion, short papers and reports, at least one exam.

Required Texts:

  • The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson by Edward Kimber (Broadview, 2009). ISBN: 978-1-55111-703-4
  • Colonel Jack by Daniel Defoe (Kessinger, 2004). ISBN: 1-4191-1356-9
  • The History of Emily Montague by Frances Brooke (McClelland & Stewart/New Canadian Library, 2008). ISBN: 978-0-7710-9351-7

Jan. 9:  Introduction

14:  Introduction continued. +Stuart Hall, excerpt from "Signification, Representation, Ideology," pp. 106-113; +excerpt from “The horror, the horror”

16:  Edward Kimber, The History of Mr. Anderson 

21:  History of Mr. Anderson and reports (1/2 of the class)

23:  Continued.  Paper Due.

28:  Daniel Defoe, Col. Jack

30:  Continued

Feb. 4: Continued

6: Elizabeth Inchbald, Everyone Has His Faults  (ECCO, 1793 edition)

11: Continued

13:  +Thomas Raynal and Benjamin Franklin, 442-47; Charlotte Lennox, from Harriot Stuart, 451-54, and from Euphemia, 306-14.  Paper Due.

18:  Elizabeth Inchbald, Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are (ECCO, 1797 edition)

20:  Continued.

25:  +Mary Chudleigh, "To the Ladies"; Susan Bordo, +from The Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body.   

27: Frances Brooke, History of Emily Montague and reports (1/2 of the class)

March 4:  Continued and papers due.

            6:  Midterm exam


Liberty by the English law depends not upon the complexion; and what was said even in the time of queen Elizabeth, is now substantially true, that the air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe in.
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Law of England

March 18:  +James Thomson, Rule, Britannia; Ottobah Cugoano, Briton Hammond, John Hancock, and Frederick Douglass

20: Research Day

25: +excerpt from Timonthy Brennan, "The National Longing for Form," 49-56

27:  +Charlotte Sussman, chapter 4 from Consuming Anxieties; +Amelia Opie, The Black Man’s Lament: or, How to Make Sugar

April 1:  +William Blake, selection from America, 205-207, 209

3. Richard Cumberland, The West Indian  (ECCO, 1771, "A New Edition")

8:  Continued; thesis statements due.

10: The Abolition Movement.

15:  Continued. +"Inkle and Yarico," Richard Steele and the Countess of Hertford; George Colman, Inkle and Yarico  (ECCO, 1787 edition)

17:  +Mary Barber, On Seeing the Captives; Mary Robinson, The Linnet's Petition

22: + Letitia Barbauld, Epistle to William Wilberforce;  Barbauld, Summer Evening's Meditation; William Cowper, Sonnet to William Wilberforce, Esq.

24: Discussion and Paper Due

29: Final exam (4-6:30)