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ENGL 4370: Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century British Literature
Spring 2009

Dr. Paula R. Backscheider
9082 Haley Center
(334) 844-9091


Wits, coquettes, poets, prisoners, people willing to die for their religion and others willing to write on both sides of every political issue for a pocketful of change- A time and a literature that gave us the modern novel, our tax system, literary criticism, the modern prison, mass culture, hymns we still sing, glittering comedies, touching romantic plays and novels, and some of the most scathing satires ever written.

This discussion course studies the greatest literature written in the century often described as most like our own. Their problems were our problems (crime, gender relationships, defining the rights of individuals); they believed that literature matters and helps create the world in which we live. We will sample all of the kinds of literature being written with special attention to the forms we still read. The readings include “trashy” romances, a novel, a few plays, satires of courtship, and poetry about the writing life. Class participation, two short papers (7-12 pages), midterm exam or equivalent, and a final exam are required.

Required Texts:

  • Engravings by Hogarth (Dover, 1973). ISBN: 0486224791
  • Selected Fiction and Drama of Eliza Haywood, edited by Paula  Backscheider (Oxford, 1999). ISBN: 0-19-510847-7
  • Venice Preserved, by Thomas Otway (University of Nebraska Press, 1969). ISBN: 0803253664
  • 18th Century Plays, ed. Ricardo Quintana (Modern Library) 0-07-553659-5
  • 18th Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology, ed. David Fairer and Christine Gerrard, 2004. ISBN: 1-4051-1319-7
  • Pamela by Samuel Richardson (Oxford World Classics 2001). ISBN: 0192829602


January 8: Introduction.
13: Hogarth, "The Rake's Progress" (28-35), "The Harlot's Progress" (18-23), "The Four Times of Day" (41-45), "Gin Lane" (76), and "Beer Street" (75).
15: Haywood, The City Jilt from Selected Fiction and Drama of Eliza Haywood.
20: Haywood, The Mercenary Lover from Selected Fiction and Drama of Eliza Haywood.
22: Sarah Fyge Egerton, "The Liberty" (pp. 11-12), "On My Leaving London" (pp.13-14), and "The Emulation" (pp. 15-16) in Eighteenth-Century Poetry. Group One Reports.
27: Eliza Haywood, A Wife to be Let. Group Two Reports.
29: Thomas Otway, Venice Preserved.

February 3: Jonathan Swift, "A Description of the Morning" (pp. 74), "A Description of a City Shower" (pp. 74-76), and "Stella's Birthday 1721" (pp. 76-78) from 18th-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology.
5: Venice Preserved debate. Groups Three and Four.
10: Continued.
12: Lillo, The London Merchant (pp. 287-341) from 18th-Century Plays.
17: Swift, "The Lady's Dressing Room" (pp. 81-85) and Alexander Pope, "The Rape of the Lock" (pp. 113-132) from 18th-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology. Group Five.
19: John Gay, Beggar's Opera (pp. 179-237) from 18th-Century Plays and Toni- Lynn O'Shaughnessy, "A Single Capacity in The Beggar's Opera" Eighteenth-Century Studies 21 (1987-88): 212-27 (Blackboard).
24: Mid-term Exam.
26: Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (pp. 133-141) from 18th-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology.

March 3: Beggar's Opera (pp. 179- 237) from 18th-Century Plays. Papers Due.
5: Continued.
10: Hogarth, prints 4, 25, and 46 on the stage, 25, 37-41, "Marriage a la Mode" (51-56), "Industry and Idleness" (60-71), and "The Four Stages of Cruelty" (77-80).
12: Hogarth, continued.
24: Finch, A Nocturnal Reverie (pp. 33-35), To the Nightingale (pp. 35); Montagu, A Hymn to the Moon (pp. 192), and Joseph Warton, Ode to Evening (pp. 390) from 18th-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology.
26: Reading Day.
31: Pamela debates. Groups One and Two.

April 2: Pamela.
7: Continued.
9: Hymns (provided). Group Three.
14: Continued: Groups Four and Five.
16: Gray, "Sonnet on the Death of Richard West" (pp. 349), "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" (pp. 350-352), "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat" (pp. 352-354), and "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" (pp. 354-358) from 18th-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology. Papers due.
21: Professor Felicity Nussbaum's talk, "Celebrity Actresses."
23: Montagu, "An Epistle to Lord Bathurst" (pp. 186-188) and Pope, "An Epistle to a Lady" (pp. 147-155) from 18th-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology.
28: Continued. Barber, "To a Lady, who commanded me to send her an Account in Verse, how I succeeded in my Subscription," Blackboard.

Exam: 6 May: 4-6:30.