online syllabus:


electronic reserves:
(password 315)

class handouts:


halle library website:

~ schedule ~


Literature 315: Enlightenment and Its Discontents

Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century

British Literature, 1660-1800

Winter 2008

Dr. Abby Coykendall

acoykenda at

Office: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G

Office Phone: 734-487-0147 (messages only)

Office Hours: MW 12:15-12:45; M 3:15-6:45; W 3:15-3:45

~ or email for an appointment

Pray Harrold Hall 308
Monday & Wednesday 2:00-3:15 PM
Registration #24111


Literature 315: Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature

LITR 315, formerly known as “Literature of the Neoclassical Period,” is a class in which you will investigate a wide variety of British literature from the period that spans the late seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries.  This period is generally referred to as the “long” eighteenth century to accommodate the revolutions that precede and conclude the eighteenth century proper, both of which influence the direction of British culture profoundly.  Namely, the Restoration (of the British monarchy) following the Civil War, as well as, of course, the French Revolution, the period’s spectacular fin de sičcle denouement.  Perhaps more than any other era, the eighteenth century represents a moment that we must evaluate and reevaluate to interrogate the values of our own time.  While often considered a quaint, tea-and-crumpets blueprint for civil societies across the globe, the British enlightenment witnesses both the positives and the negatives of modernity in the extreme.  Thus, in midst of a massive expansion of the slave trade, the birth of the market economy and finance capitalism, as well as an increasingly rigid sex-gender system (later culminating in “Angle of the House” Victorian domesticity), we will find a celebration of art and culture that students of literature still cannot help but admire.  We will test both the apocalyptic and utopian visions of the British enlightenment through a diverse array of texts that put issues of modernity at the fore.  Ultimately, we will expand rather than confine our engagement with the material, not only putting literary works in dialogue with the historical and philosophical texts of the time, but also examining how they shape the myriad claims to (and contestations against) modernity that continue to vex our own.

Course Objectives:

By the end of the semester, students will be better able to

1)   Comprehend, appreciate, and critically examine restoration and eighteenth-century literature;

2)   Recognize the most significant changes from the beginning to the end of the period, while also perceiving the ways in which the period differs from those before and after it;

3)     Make connections between the literature of the period and its historical context by tracing the ways in which literature influences the larger culture and that culture influences the literature in turn;

4)     Partake in current approaches to the field by becoming acquainted with a select yet representative sample of literary theorists;

5)  Enhance the study of the period by placing its literature and culture in a lasting dialogue with our own.

Course Itinerary:

Section One:

The Public Sphere: Cultural Imperialism and the Global Eighteenth Century

Main Assignment:

Essay Exam One 

Research Report

Case Study (“Lady’s Dressing Room” & “Reasons”); Behn, Oroonoko, Swift “Modest Proposal,” & Thomson, “Rule Britannia”; Selections from Idler, Spectator, Robinson Crusoe, & Interesting Narrative

Theorist: Edward Said (“Imagined Geography”)

Section Two:

The Private Sphere: Sexuality, Gender, and the Rise of the Middle Class

Main Assignment:

Essay Exam Two

Research Essay

Restoration Poetry; Haywood, Fantomina; Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode; Pope, “Rape of the Lock”; Gray, “Ode on the Death”; Goldsmith, “Deserted Village”; Selections from Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters

Theorist: Ruth Perry (“Colonizing the Breast”)

Required Texts:

The following book is available at Ned’s (; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross), as well as on 2-hour reserve at the Halle library circulation desk.  Make sure to get the same edition pictured below (double check the ISBN number, a fingerprint of sorts for the book).

Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
Volume 3, Ed. Joseph Black (Broadview 2006; ISBN #

Some materials will be located online in the Electronic Reserves (ER): (password 315).  You can print these materials for free in any of the computer labs on campus

** Make sure to bring a copy of each text that we will be discussing to class, whether it be the textbook or a handout from the Electronic Reserves.  You will need to have them on hand for groupwork and class discussions.


Nothing is more vital for success in this course than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the reading assignments, response papers, and class discussions.  The more actively you participate, the more the course content will reflect your unique needs and interests.  As with any university course, you can expect the homework to take around two hours for every unit of class or, in other words, six hours each week. 

See the Assignments, Exams, and Extra-Credit Opportunities handout for specific information, including ways to augment your grade through extra credit if you fall behind



Participation: Responses, Homework, Groupwork, & Quizzes

due dates:


Exam Section 1: The Public Sphere

March 10


5-Page Research Essay Stemming from Collaborative Project

April 11 (5:00 PM)


Exam Section 2: The Private Sphere

April 23 (1:30-3:00)


Because this course primarily consists of reading and discussion—rather than facts, figures, or memorization—attendance is crucial.  After five absences, your final grade will start being reduced by one third.  That is, the sixth class missed will turn a final grade of an A into an A-; the seventh, into a B+; and so on.  If you have more than eight absences, you will no longer be able to pass the class. 

There is no need to explain or excuse absences, for I will always assume that you have an excellent reason to miss class.  However, make sure to save some of the five allowable absences for the end of the term when you might become ill or have other extenuating circumstances.

Lateness and Classroom Etiquette

Do not distract your peers by coming in late, exiting the room, answering your cell phone, whispering to your neighbors, or packing your items up before the class is actually over.  Once class starts, turn off your cell phone, and then walk in or out of the room only if there is a genuine emergency.  Leaving halfway through a class period or arriving halfway into one each count as half an absence, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have not been marked absent because you were late. 

Refrain from talking with other students during class time: simply raise your hand and bring the concerns that you have to the attention of the entire class (the other students will likely have the same questions anyway).  Most importantly, make sure to listen to your fellow students with the same respect and attention that you want to receive when you yourself are speaking. 

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is an extremely serious offense against the Code of Student Conduct.  Any plagiarized writing or cheating on the exams will automatically result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment, as well as in further disciplinary action if egregious.  The general rule is that if you use three or more words of another writer in a row without enclosing those words in quotation marks and acknowledging your source, you are guilty of plagiarism.  See for more specific guidelines.   


Section One: The Public Sphere (Cultural Imperialism and the Global Eighteenth Century)

Monday, January 7: Overview of Course; Introductions; Conjectural Response/Homework: 1) Read syllabus (preferably online) and the Assignments, Exams, & Extra-Credit Opportunities handout, jotting down any questions that you have; 2) Begin “Introduction,” Broadview Anthology (BA), p. xxix-xxxvi (also on reserve at the Halle library); 3) Read (and re-read) “Lady’s Dressing Room,” including background on Jonathan Swift [BA 302-4, 307].

Wednesday, January 9: Discuss Handout, Swift, & Introduction/Homework: 1) After surveying the Descriptions of Texts, email the list of three preferred texts to acoykenda at (or bring it to class); 2) Continue “Introduction” [BA xxxvi-xl; xlv-xlix]; 3) Read Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “Reasons that Induced” [BA 488]; 4) Be prepared to discuss the Montagu and Swift poems, along with at least one passage from the “Introduction” that you find applicable to them, in class.

Monday, January 14: Discuss Montagu, Swift, & Introduction/Homework: 1) Read the Collaborative Groupwork Project handout; 2) Email your list of preferred texts to acoykenda at as soon as possible if you missed class last time.

Wednesday, January 16: Overview of Research Project/Homework: 1) See List of Group Assignments to confirm your group number; 2) Read all of the materials assigned to your group (the Descriptions of Texts handout specifies where to locate these materials, as well as what to read in conjunction with them).

Monday, January 21: NO CLASS (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

Wednesday, January 23: Groupwork Step One/Homework: 1) Read Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography,” including the discussion questions, in the Electronic Reserves (ER), password 315; 2) Do your research task and begin Research Report (due Feb. 8); 3) Write down the bibliographic information of the source that you will use for your research task to turn in on Monday.

Monday, January 28: Watch & discuss Edward Said on Orientalism/Homework: 1) Re-read Said “Imaginative Geography” [ER]; 2) Read “Royal Exchange” and “Pleasures of the Imagination” (Spectator #69 & #414), including background on Joseph Addison [BA 427-28, 711-12, 432-33]; 3) Write a response on Addison incorporating and discussing a quote from Said.

Wednesday, January 30: Discuss Responses; MLA Demo/Homework: 1) Read “Slavery and the Slave Trade in Britain” [ER]; 2) Begin Oroonoko, including the background on Aphra Behn [BA 139-40; 144-63]; 3) Find at least one article or book chapter of literary criticism from the MLA Bibliography on your groupwork text and/or author, and then email the peers in your group to ensure that your source is distinct from theirs (see the List of Group Assignments for a link); 4) Write down the bibliographic information for your literary critical source to turn in on Monday.

Monday, February 4: Discuss Transatlantic Slave Trade; Discuss Behn/Homework: 1) Finish Aphra Behn, Oroonoko [BA 164-78]; 2) Continue “Introduction” [BA xl-xliv]; 3) Be prepared to discuss one quote from the “Introduction” in relation to one passage from Oroonoko in class; 4) Continue Research Report (due Feb. 8).

Wednesday, February 6: Discuss Behn/Homework: 1) Finish the 3-page Research Report (see Collaborative Groupwork Project handout); Remember that it must be double-spaced, in 12-point, Times New Roman font, with only 1-inch margins.

Friday, February 8 (5:00 PM): Research Report Due (in English Department Mailbox, PH 612)

Monday, February 11: Groupwork Step Two/Homework: 1) Read Jonathan Swift, “Modest Proposal,” including the context, and then read Samuel Johnson, “On Native Americans,” and James Thomson, “Rule Britannia” [BA 417-26, 581-82, 557]; 2) Group One must email discussion questions to acoykenda at by 4 PM on Feb. 12th; Group Two by Feb. 17th; Group Three by Feb. 19th; 3) All remaining groups should consult the List of Group Assignments, highlighting when the discussion questions are due on the schedule.

Wednesday, February 13: Discuss Swift, Johnson, & Thomson/Homework: 1) Read background on Daniel Defoe [BA 242-43]; 2) Consult the discussion questions and Robinson Crusoe Summary” [ER]; 3) Read selections from Robinson Crusoe [ER], including “Illustrating Robinson Crusoe” [BA 271-73]; 4) Optional: Read selections from Crusoe in the anthology [BA 249-70].

Monday, February 18: Group One Presents Defoe/Homework: 1) Consult discussion questions for Richard Steele and then read (and re-read) Steele, Spectator #11, “Inkle and Yarico” [ER]; 2) View America Awakens and the Exotic Tourism Ad by way of comparison [ER].

Wednesday, February 20: Group Two Presents Steele/Homework: 1) Consult discussion questions for Equiano [ER]; 2) Read selections from Interesting Narrative, including background on Olaudah Equiano [BA 742-52]; 3) Write a response comparing and contrasting Behn’s Oroonoko with the work of another Section One author depending on your group number: Group 1 (Steele), Groups 2 and 3 (Defoe), Group 4 (Swift, “Modest”), Group 5 (Johnson), Group 6 (Thomson), Groups 7 and 8 (Equiano); 4) Optional, but recommended: Nell Boyce, “Out of Africa?” [ER].

February 25-February 27: NO CLASS (Winter Recess)

Monday, March 3: Group Three Presents Equiano/Homework: 1) Read Handout on Exam One; 2) Review materials from section and then compose essay question and outline for Exam One; 3) Optional Reading, “Taking Essay Exams” [ER].

Wednesday, March 5: Quiz on Section One; Workshop Outlines/Homework: 1) Prepare for Exam One; 2) Optional: Meet with me during my extra office hours to confer about your essay outline (Thursday, March 6, 2:00-3:30 PM).

Monday, March 10: Exam One (The Public Sphere)/Homework: 1) Consult discussion questions for Restoration Poetry [ER]; 2) Read (and re-read) “The Disabled Debauchee” and “Imperfect Enjoyment,” including background John Wilmot [BA 231-32, 236-37, 240-41]; 3) Read (and re-read) Aphra Behn, “The Disappointment” [BA 140-42]; 4) Optional, but highly recommended: “Reading Poetry” [BA 863-82].

Section Two: The Private Sphere (Sexuality, Gender, and the Rise of the Middle Class)

Wednesday, March 12: Group Four Presents Restoration Poetry/Homework: 1) Read “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Part III [ER 911-918]; 2) Consult discussion questions for Haywood [ER]; 3) Read Fantomina, including background on Eliza Haywood [BA 513-32]; 4) Optional: Watch The Libertine (2004), perhaps writing an extra-credit response on that film and the Wilmot poems.

Monday, March 17: Group Five Presents Haywood/Homework: 1) Consult discussion questions for Montagu [ER]; 2) Read “Selected Letters” (Turkish Embassy Letters only), including the background on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu [BA 485-86, 500-505].

Wednesday, March 19: Group Six Presents Montagu/Homework: 1) Consult Handout on Ruth Perry; 2) Read “Colonizing the Breast” Parts 1 and 2 [ER]; 3) Do your task in a response.

Monday, March 24: Jigsaw Coverage of Perry/Homework: 1) Begin work on five-page Research Essay (due April 11); 2) Review the images and read the accompanying text for William Hogarth’s Marriage A-la-Mode [BA 719-24], preferably online where images are larger and in color (

Wednesday, March 26: NO CLASS (ASECS Conference)

Monday, March 31: Watch and Discuss Hogarth’s Marriage ŕ la Mode/Homework: 1) Consult discussion questions for Gray; 2) Read “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat,” including background on Thomas Gray [BA 603-604, 606]; 3) Continue work on the Research Essay (due April 11).

Wednesday, April 2: Group Seven Presents Gray/Homework: 1) Consult discussion questions for Goldsmith; 2) Read (and re-read) “Deserted Village,” including background on Oliver Goldsmith [BA 677-83]; 3) Continue work on the Research Essay (due April 11).

Monday, April 7: Group Eight Presents Goldsmith/Homework: 1) Review conjectural responses from the first day of class; 2) Write an optional, extra-credit response on the conjectural response (see the Assignments handout for details); 3) Continue work on the five-page Research Essay (due April 11).

Wednesday, April 9: Course Retrospect/Homework: 1) Finish work on the five-page Research Essay (due April 11); 2) Read (and re-read) Cantos 1-3 of “Rape of the Lock,” including the letter and background on Alexander Pope [BA 434-36, 442-51].

Friday, April 11 (5:00 PM): Research Essay Due (in English Dept. mailbox PH 612)

Monday, April 14: Discuss Pope/Homework: 1) Read (and re-read) Cantos 4-5 of “Rape of the Lock” and then reread the poem in its entirety [BA 442-56]; 2) Write a response comparing and/or contrasting Pope’s work with that of another Section Two author depending on your group number: Group 1 (Goldsmith), Group 2 (Gray), Group 3 (Montagu), Group 4 (Hogarth), Group 5 (Behn), Group 6 (Rochester), Groups 7 and 8 (Haywood).

Wednesday, April 16: Discuss Pope & Responses/Homework: 1) Read Handout on Exam Two; 2) Review materials from section and then compose essay question and outline for Exam Two; 3) Complete all extra credit and/or outstanding homework assignments (due April 23).

Monday, April 21: Quiz on Section Two; Workshop Essay Outlines/Homework: 1) Revise outline and prepare for Exam Two; 2) Complete all outstanding homework assignments.

Wednesday, April 23 (1:30-3:00): Exam Two (The Private Sphere)


Important Links:

·   Collaborative Groupwork Project (

·   Course Syllabus (

·   Electronic Reserves (

·   Assignments, Exams, & Extra Credit Opportunities (

·   Descriptions of Texts for Groupwork (

·   List of Group Assignments (

·   Handout on Exam One (

·   Handout on Exam Two (

·   Handout on Perry (

·   Researching Literature  (

·   Rubric on Peer Editing (


[Syllabus last modified XXX 0, 0000]