online syllabus:


electronic reserves:
(password 561)

class handouts:


halle library website:

list of groups:

~ schedule ~



Literature 561: The Enlightenment and Its Discontents

Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature

fall 2006

Dr. Abby Coykendall

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

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G

Office Hours: Friday 1:30-6:30 PM

~ or email for an appointment ~

REGISTRATION # 16461; Section #000
Wednesday  6:30 - 9:10 Pm
Pray-Harrold Hall 319


Literature 561: Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature (The Enlightenment and Its Discontents)

Literature 561 is a course in which you will investigate a wide variety of British literature from the period that spans the late seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries.  This period is generally referred to as the “long” eighteenth century in order to account for the revolutions that precede and conclude the eighteenth century proper, both of which influence the direction of British literary culture profoundly.  Namely, the Restoration (of the British monarchy) following the Civil War and, of course, the French Revolution, the period’s spectacular fin de siècle denouement.  In addition to neo-classicism, which is only one of many literary movements prevalent at the time (and not necessarily the most interesting nor even the most important one), we will consider other genres no less representative of the period, whether they be gothic, orientalist, libertine, or sentimental, including those prevailing in the visual arts such as the picturesque, chinoiserie, or rococo.  Likewise, although we will concentrate on the novel, a genre widely thought to be first invented and developed in this period, we will consider other non-fictional, semi-fictional, or at least not-necessarily-so-novelistic genres almost equally fashionable at the time, such as print journalistic vehicles like the Spectator, travel narratives, or epistolary works.  These quasi-canonical narratives and genres are important in and of themselves, as well as in terms of how they shape the emergence of the novel (arguably, merely an omnivorous, mass-produced hybrid of them all) as the genre of choice and as the ultimate guardian of the literary real from this period onwards.

Perhaps more than any other period, the eighteenth century represents a moment that we must evaluate and reevaluate to challenge and interrogate the values of our own time.  Although often considered the quaint, tea-and-crumpets blueprint for civil societies across the globe, the British eighteenth century witnesses both the positives and 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 (culminating in “Angle of the House” Victorian domesticity), we 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 whether discussing literature or world events, we will attempt to 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. 

Texts and Materials

The following books are available at Ned’s (; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross St.), although additional copies may be available at other campus bookstores:


Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Volume 3: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century [BABL]
Ed. Joseph Black et al. (Broadview, 2006; ISBN 1551116111)

Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk: A Romance, Ed. D. L. Macdonald & Kathleen Scherf
(Broadview, 2003; ISBN 1551112272)

Frances Burney, Evelina: A Cultural Edition, Ed. Kristina Straub
(Bedford, 1997; ISBN 0312097298)

Make sure to get the same editions pictured above even if you purchase the books online, where they may be significantly less expensive; otherwise, the differing page numbers will make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to follow along with class discussions.  If you purchase the Broadview Anthology and the Monk in a bundled package at the bookstore, you should receive a discounted price.

Several required texts are located online through the Halle library’s Electronic Reserves (ER):  Print the Electronic Reserve materials in advance from the computers on the first floor of the Halle library, where you will find a station with multimedia computers equipped with the Course Reserve software, as well as technicians nearby should you encounter any kind of problem.  ***Make sure to bring a copy of each text that we will be discussing to class (except for the visual materials), whether it be a book or a handout from the Electronic Reserves.  You will need to have read the assigned material, and have it on hand, for groupwork and class discussions.

Course Itinerary

Section One:

The Global Eighteenth Century

Behn, Oroonoko; Steele, “Inkle and Yarico”; Addison, “Royal Exchange”;
& Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters

Section Two:

Novel Geographies & The Contact Zone

Selections from Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Defoe, Robinson Crusoe;
Equiano, Interesting Narrative

Section Three:

Country, City, and Colony

Pope, Rape of the Lock; Gray, “Distant Prospect,” “Death of a Favorite Cat,” & “Elegy”; Swift, “Description of a City Shower”; Oliver Goldsmith, “Deserted Village”

Section Four:

Inventions, Ideologies: 

Sexuality and Gender

Earl of Rochester, “Disabled Debauchee” & “Imperfect Enjoyment”; Haywood, Fantomina; Selections from Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield; Burney, Evelina

Section Three:

Romantic Revolutions

Burke, Philosophical Enquiry and Reflections on the Revolution in France; Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Men; Lewis, The Monk


Assessment & Assignments

 Aside from the required reading, there will one of four different kinds of homework assignments due almost every week of the semester: 1) an informal response; 2) a discussion question for your peers; 3) reading one of the optional critical materials; or 4) undertaking outside research on one of the primary texts covered for the week.  If you do tasks 3 or 4, you will need to bring in a quote from those supplementary materials and briefly discuss the main contentions of the author. 

Each group will cycle though these various assignments as indicated on the schedule.  See the List of Group Assignments ( for information about which group you are in, and see the Weekly Homework Assignments ( handout for more detailed information about the homework.




Weekly Homework Assignments

 due dates:



Research Proposal (4 pages)

November 29



Research Presentation

December 20



Research Paper (16-20 pages)

December 22


I strongly recommend consulting with me as early as possible in the semester to identify the topics that you want to pursue in the research paper.  You can recycle any of the work that you generate through the homework assignments and/or the research proposal in the paper itself; e.g. by expanding one of your responses into a more formal (and more organized) critical essay or by using one of the discussion questions as a basis for further analysis and research.

Academic Integrity

Any plagiarized writing will automatically result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment, as well as in further disciplinary action from the Student Judicial Services 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.  **Note: turning a paper in that you wrote for another course for this class, i.e. recycling the same words for double credit, also constitutes academic dishonesty at EMU. 



Section I: The Global Eighteenth Century

Week One (September 6):

Student Introductions; Introduction to Course & Period; Swift, “Lady’s Dressing Room”; Edward Said on Orientalism (40 min)

Week Two (September 13):

Context:  “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Broadview Anthology [BABL xxix-xl]

Theorist:  Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography,” Orientalism, Sections [ER]

                  Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “Tropes of Empire,” Unthinking Eurocentrism [ER]

Primary Text:  Aphra Behn, Oroonoko [BABL 139-40; 144-78]

Optional:  Catherine Gallagher, Introduction to Oroonoko [ER 3-25]

                  Srinivas Aravamudan, “Petting Oroonoko,” Tropicopolitans [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Grp. 1 Response; Grp. 2 & 3 Discussion Question; Grp. 4 Opt. Reading; Grp. 5 Research

Week Three (September 20): 

Context:  “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Broadview Anthology [BABL xl-liii]

Artwork:  Theodor Galle, America Awakens (1580) [ER]

Theorists:  Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone” (selections) [ER]

                   Ann Bermingham, “Picturesque & Ready-to-Wear Femininity” (part two) [ER]

Primary Texts: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Poems and Letters [BABL 485-86; 488-89; 495-512]

                           Richard Steele, “Inkle and Yarico” [ER]

                           Joseph Addison, “Royal Exchange” [BABL 709-12]

Optional:  Malek Alloula, The Colonial Harem (3-26) [ER]

                  Peter Hulme, “Inkle and Yarico” [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Grp. 5 Response; Grp. 1 & 2 Discussion Question; Grp. 3 Opt. Reading; Grp. 4 Research


Section II:  Novel Geographies & The Contact Zone

Week Four (September 27):

Film:  Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (39 min)

Context:  “Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Broadview Anthology [BABL liii-lxiv]

Primary Text:  Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels [BABL 302-4; 317-30; 332-40; 343-59; 361-66; 373-84; 389-92; 395-98; top of pg. 410 to 413]

Theorists:  Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities [ER]

Optional:  Clement Hawes, “Swift’s Imminent Critique” [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Grp. 4 Response; Grp. 5 & 1 Discussion Question; Grp. 2 Opt. Reading; Grp. 3 Research 

Week Five (October 4): 

Film:  Portions of Robinson Crusoe (1996), time permitting

Context:  Defoe Background & Crusoe Illustrations [BABL 242-43; 271-73] 

Primary Text:  Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Selections [ER]

                         Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative (selections) [ER]

Theorists:  Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather [ER]

Optional:  Peter Hulme, “Robinson Crusoe and Friday” [ER]

                  Roxann Wheeler, “Politicization of Race” [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Grp. 3 Response; Grp. 4 & 5 Discussion Question; Grp. 1 Opt. Reading; Grp. 2 Research 


Section III:  Country, City, and Colony

Week Six (October 11): 

Primary Texts:  Alexander Pope, Rape of the Lock [BABL 434-36; 443-56] 

                           Giles Jacob, “Rape of the Smock” [ER]

Theorist:  Ann Bermingham, “Picturesque & Ready-to-Wear Femininity” (part one) [ER]

Criticism:  Cynthia Wall, Introduction to The Rape [ER]

Optional:  Laura Brown, “Capitalizing on Women” [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Groups 1-2 Discussion Questions; Groups 3-4 Responses; Group 5 Opt. Reading

Week Seven (October 18): 

Primary Texts:  Jonathan Swift, “Description of a City Shower” [BABL 304]

                           Thomas Gray, “Distant Prospect,” “Death of a Favorite Cat,” & “Elegy” [BABL 603-6; 607-9]

                           Oliver Goldsmith, “Deserted Village” [BABL 677-83]

Context:  William Blake, Illustrations for the “Ode” & the “Elegy” [ER]

                  Richard Bentley, Illustrations for the “Ode” [ER]

Theorist:  Raymond Williams, Country and the City [ER]

Optional:  Suvir Kaul, “Why Selima Drowns: Thomas Gray and the Domestication of the Imperial Ideal” [ER]

                   Laura Brown, “The Metropolis” [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Group 5 Discussion Question; Groups 1-2 Responses; Groups 3-4 Opt. Reading


Section IV:  Inventions, Ideologies:  Sexuality and Gender

Week Nine (October 25): 

Film:  Portions of The Libertine (2004), time permitting

Primary Texts:  Eliza Haywood, Fantomina [BABL 513-32]

                           Earl of Rochester, “Disabled Debauchee” & “Imperfect Enjoyment” [BABL 231-32; 236-37; 240-41]

                           Selections from Oliver Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield [ER]

Theorist:  Terry Castle, Masquerade and Civilization [ER]

Optional:  William Warner, "Elevation of the Novel" [ER]

                   Madeleine Kahn, Narrative Transvestism [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Groups 3-4 Discussion Questions; Group 5 Response; Groups 1-2 Opt. Reading

Week Eight (November 1):

Primary Text:  Frances Burney, Evelina, Volume One

Theorist:  Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast” (part one) [ER]

HOMEWORK:  All Groups do Discussion Questions

Week Ten (November 8): 

Primary Text:  Frances Burney, Evelina, Volume Two

Theorist:  Deidre Lynch, “Agoraphobia and Interiority,” from Economy of Character [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Find one passage from the supplementary materials in the back of the book to apply to the novel and to discuss in class.

Week Eleven (November 15): 

Primary Text: Frances Burney, Evelina, Volume Three

Criticism:  Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast” (part two) [ER]

HOMEWORK: All Groups do Responses on Evelina.

Week Twelve (November 22):  NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Recess)

HOMEWORK:  Prepare Research Proposal & Begin Reading the Monk (Vol. 1)


Section V:  Romantic Revolutions

Week Thirteen (November 29):  NO CLASS (Conferences)

HOMEWORK:  Finish Research Proposal & Continue Reading the Monk (Vol. 2)

Week Thirteen (December 6): 

Primary Text: Matthew Lewis, The Monk, Volumes One & Two

Theorist:  Edmund Burke, Philosophical Enquiry [BABL 733-34]

                   Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France [ER]

HOMEWORK: All Groups do Responses on The Monk.

Week Fourteen (December 13): 

Primary Text: Matthew Lewis, The Monk, Volume Three

Theorist:  Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Men [ER]

HOMEWORK:  Find one passage from the supplementary materials in the back of the book to apply to the novel and to discuss in class.

Week Fifteen (December 20):  Research Presentations

HOMEWORK:  Complete Research Paper (due Dec. 22 by 5PM in Engl. Dept. mailbox or under office door)