English 119

Literature of the Restoration and the Early 18th Century

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2022 Sorensen, Janet
MW 11-12:30 Wheeler 300


In this course we shall read a variety of texts that sought to represent strange new worlds—or invited readers to see their own world as strange—from Royal Society publications describing microscopic worlds to popular voyage accounts regaling readers with remote worlds, to plays, prose fiction, and poems that wrote familiar worlds anew. As we read the works of philosophers, scientists, mariners, poets, dramatists, essayists, and fiction writers we will attend to their struggle to find a language to convey these strange and estranged worlds and to popularize new scientific discoveries, debate approaches to life in a globalizing market society, or satirize new commercial regimes and claims regarding the promise of scientific enquiry. We shall also ask how and why so many works figured the object of knowledge and the instabilities and limits of language as female. As we interpret coffee house conversationalists, hack writers, masquerading women, naïve travellers, criminal gangs, among others, we shall be especially interested in the development of new techniques of realist writing and the complexities of the satire of this period.  

Provisional Reading: Poetry of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Alexander Pope, John Gay, James Thompson, and Jonathan Swift; Prose of Samuel Pepys, John Locke, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Henry Fielding; Plays of William Wycherley and John Gay.

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

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