English 119

Literature of the Restoration & the Early 18th Century

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2014 Turner, James Grantham
TTh 3:30-5 210 Wheeler

Book List

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume C: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century

Other Readings and Media

A few texts will be available to download, including William Wycherley's sex-farce The Country Wife (ebook that comes free with the Norton Anthology)


The period from the "Restoration" of Charles II (1660) to the death of Alexander Pope (1744) produced the last poems of Milton, the first English pornography and feminist polemic, the most devastating satires ever written, some of the most influential novels, the most amusing comedies, and the most outrageous obscenity. London (already the largest city in the world) burned to the ground - we will begin the course by reading contemporary accounts of this catastrophe - but within a few generations had developed all the benefits of modern civilization: a stock market, a scientific revolution, an insurance industry, a colonial empire based on slavery. This course will try to convey not only the abundance and brilliance of this period, but its contrasts and contradictions. Canonical figures like Hobbes, Dryden, Congreve, Pope and Swift will be juxtaposed to scandalous and/or marginal authors: women writers like Aphra Behn, Mary Astell and Mary Wortley Montagu, Puritan outlaws like John Bunyan, and renegade aristocrats like the Earl of Rochester. Dominant themes, always treated with devastating wit and skeptical realism, include sexuality and identity, the politics of gender as well as nation, and the representation of “other” cultures (Surinam, West Africa, Ottoman Turkey).

Our readings come from a single book, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Ninth Edition, Volume C, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century – plus a few extra texts available to download.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

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