online syllabus:

electronic reserves:
(password 561)

class handouts:

listserv email:

novel at



LITR 561: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Winter 2008 

Dr. Abby Coykendall

acoykenda at

Office: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G

Phone: (734) 487-0147 (messages only)
Hours: MW 12:15-12:45; M 3:15-6:45; W 3:15-3:45

~ or  email for an appointment ~

Registration #26856

Pray-Harrold Hall 618

Wednesday 6:30-9:10 PM

Literature 561: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Literature 561 is a course in which you will investigate a wide variety of British literature from the period that spans the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century (1660-1815).  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 siècle denouement.  In addition to neoclassicism, 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 a variety genres representative of the period, whether they be orientalist, libertine, gothic, or sentimental, including those prevailing in the visual arts such as picturesque and rococo.  Likewise, although we will concentrate on the novel, a genre widely thought to be invented in this period, we will also consider non-fictional, semi-fictional, or at least not-necessarily-so-novelistic genres equally fashionable at the time, such as journalistic vehicles like the Spectator, travel narratives, graphic novels, and epistolary works.  These quasi-canonical genres are important not only in and of themselves, but also in 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 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 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.

Texts and Materials

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


Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Volume 3: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century

ed. Joseph Black (Broadview, 2006; ISBN 1551116111)

Eliza Haywood and Henry Fielding, Anti-Pamela and Shamela (Broadview, 2004; ISBN 155111383X)

William Earle, Obi; or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack (Broadview, 2005; ISBN 1551116693)

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (Broadview, 2002; ISBN 1551114798)

Some texts will be located online in the Electronic Reserves (ER): a copy of each text that we will be discussing to class, whether it be a book or a handout from the ER.  You will need to have all texts on hand for groupwork and class discussions. 

Assignments and Assessment

Instead of exams, there will be a variety of homework assignments due each week.  These will not only keep you engaged with the array of the materials that we will cover throughout the semester, but also make the class as interactive and student-centered as possible.  Depending on which group you are in (see the List of Group Assignments), you will cycle though one of the following tasks: 1) composing a discussion question for your peers to address in class; 2) emailing a response paper to the course listserv; 3) serving as a respondent when these responses are conveyed to the rest of class; or 4) sharing outside research or supplemental reading with your peers.  The Weekly Homework Assignments handout has more detailed information about each assignment.   


Weekly Homework & Class Participation

 due dates:


Proposal for Seminar Paper (4 pages)

April 5 (12 PM)


Conference Style Presentation on Paper Topic

April 23


Research Essay (16-20 pages)

April 26 (12 PM)

I strongly recommend consulting with me as early as possible to identify the topics that you want to pursue in the research essay.  That paper constitutes a large proportion of the final grade, with the homework coming in a close second.  You can reuse any of the work that you generate through the weekly assignments in the seminar paper itself; for example, by expanding one of your responses into a more formal essay or by using the discussion questions or supplemental reading as a prompt for further analysis and research.

Academic Integrity

Any plagiarized writing will automatically result in a zero-percent grade for the assignment.  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.


Because this course primarily consists of reading and discussion—rather than facts, figures, or memorization—attendance is crucial.  According to English Department policy, students absent for more than two weeks will not be eligible to pass.



Texts marked “BA” are located in the Broadview Anthology, while those marked “ER” are in the Electronic Reserves.

Week One (January 9): Overview of Course and Period  

Student Introductions; Conjectural Response; “Modern Venus” and “Lady’s Dressing Room”

Week Two (January 16): Tropes of Gender and Sexuality in Poetry

Context: Begin “Introduction” to the Broadview Anthology [BA xxix-xliv, xlix-liii]

Theory: Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast,” Part 1 [ER] (2ab)

Texts:   John Wilmot, “Disabled Debauchee” and “Imperfect Enjoyment” [BA 236, 240] (1a)

Aphra Behn, “The Disappointment” [BA 140] (2a)

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “Reasons that Induced” [BA 488]

Alexander Pope, Rape of the Lock [BA 442-56] (1b)

Thomas Gray, “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat” [BA 606] (2b)

Optional: “Reading Poetry” [BA 863-82]; Cynthia Wall, Introduction to Rape of the Lock; Laura Brown, “Capitalizing on Women”; Suvir Kaul, “Why Selima Drowns”; Blake and Bentley, “Ode” Illustrations [ER]

Homework: Group 1 DQ; Group 2 Response; Group 3 Research; Group 4 Respondent

Week Three (January 23): Amorous Fiction and Enlightenment Masquerade

Context: Finish “Introduction” to the Broadview Anthology [BA xlv-xlix, liii-lxii]

“Restoration and Eighteenth Century,” Part 3 (from Longman Anthology) [ER]

Theory:   Terry Castle, Masquerade and Civilization [ER] (3a)

Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast,” Part 2 [ER] (3b)

Texts:   Eliza Haywood, Fantomina [BA 514-32] (2a, 3ab)

Oliver Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield, Selections [ER] (2b)

Optional: Judith Butler, Gender Trouble; Mary Russo, “Female Grotesques” [ER]

Homework: Group 2 DQ; Group 3 Response; Group 4 Research; Group 1 Respondent

Week Four (January 30): Gender and Genre

Context: Begin introduction to Anti-Pamela and Shamela [7-29]

Theory:   Ann Bermingham, “Picturesque & Ready-to-Wear Femininity” [ER] (4ac)

William Warner, “Pamela Media Event” [ER] (4b)

Texts:   Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Selections [ER] (3a, 4a)

Henry Fielding, Shamela [231-76] (3b, 4bc)

Optional: Henry Fielding, “Female Husband”; Terry Castle, “Matters Not Fit” [ER]

Homework: Group 3 DQ; Group 4 Response; Group 1 Research; Group 2 Respondent

Week Five (February 6): The “Rise” of the Novel

Context: Finish introduction to Anti-Pamela and Shamela [29-43]

Theory: William Warner, “Elevation of the Novel” [ER] (1ab)

Text: Begin Eliza Haywood, Anti-Pamela [53-125] (1ab, 4abc)

Optional: “Print Culture, Stage Culture” [BA 533+]; Michael McKeon, Secret History of Domesticity [ER]

Homework: Group 4 DQ; Group 1 Response; Group 2 Research; Group 3 Respondent

Week Six (February 13): The Politics of the Private Sphere

Theory: Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction [ER] (2ab)

Text: Finish Eliza Haywood, Anti-Pamela [125-223] (1ab, 2ab)

Optional: Michel Foucault, “We Other Victorians”; Ian Watt, Rise of the Novel [ER]

Homework: Group 1 DQ; Group 2 Response; Group 3 Research; Group 4 Respondent

Week Seven (February 20): Urbanization, Sentimentalism, and Imperial Interiors

Theory: Raymond Williams, Country and City [ER] (3ab)

Texts:   William Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode [preferably ER or online, also BA 719-24] (2a)

Jonathan Swift, “Description of a City Shower” [BA 302-4] (3b)

Edmund Burke, Philosophical Enquiry [BA 733-35] (2b)

Oliver Goldsmith, “Deserted Village” [BA 677-83] (3a)

Optional: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities [ER]; Laura Brown, “The Metropolis” [ER]

Homework: Group 2 DQ; Group 3 Response; Group 4 Research; Group 1 Respondent

Week Eight (February 27): NO CLASS (Winter Recess)

Week Nine (March 5): Colonial Context and the Transatlantic Trade

Context: Srinivas Aravamudan, Introduction to Obi [7-51]

Theory:   Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone” [ER]

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

Text: William Earle, Obi; or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack [68-158]

Optional: Akhil Gupta, “Reincarnation of Souls and the Rebirth of Commodities”; Lynn Festa, “Making Humans Human,” Sentimental Figures of Empire [ER]

Homework: Find a passage from the back of the book to summarize and discuss in class.  The passage should apply both to the novel and one of the theorists.  Focus on a different appendix depending on your group number Group 1 (Appendix A); Group 2 (Appendix B); Group 3 (Appendix C); Group 4 (Appendix A, B, or C).

Week Ten (March 12): The Travel Narrative

Theory: Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather [ER] (4abc)

Texts:   Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters [BA 500-5] (3a, 4c)

Richard Steele, “Inkle and Yarico” [ER] (3b, 4a)

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Selections from Parts I-II [BA 317-26; 347-59; 363; 370-71; 376-78] (4b)

Optional: Malek Alloula, Colonial Harem; Srinivas Aravamudan, “Petting Oroonoko” [ER]

Homework: Group 3 DQ; Group 4 Response; Group 1 Research; Group 2 Respondent

Week Eleven (March 19): Gothic Novel

Context: David Hume, “Of Miracles” [BA 134-35] (4a)

Theory: Edward Said, “Imagined Geography” [ER] (1ab)

Texts:   Horace Walpole, Castle of Otranto [BA 622-72] (4bc, 1ab)

Optional: Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; E. J. Clery, Rise of Supernatural Fiction [ER]

Homework: Group 4 DQ; Group 1 Response; Group 2 Research; Group 3 Respondent

Week Twelve (March 26): NO CLASS (Cancelled for ASECS Conference)

Begin work on the research proposal (see Guidelines), which should be well underway before your individual conference next week.

Week Thirteen (April 2): Individual Conferences in Lieu of Regular Class (see Schedule)

Come to your appointment prepared to discuss your research essay and then finalize your research proposal (due April 5 by 12PM).

Week Fourteen (April 9): Gothic Parody I

Context: Claire Grogan, Introduction to Northanger Abbey [7-23]

Text: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey [37-138]

Homework: Find a passage from the back of the book to summarize, discuss, and apply to the novel in class.  Focus on a different appendix depending on your group number Group 1 (Appendix A or B); Group 2 (Appendix C); Group 3 (Appendix D); Group 4 (Appendix E).

Week Fifteen (April 16): Gothic Parody II

Text: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey [138-238]

Homework: Find a passage from at least one literary text and at least one theoretical text that we covered during Weeks 1-6 to summarize, discuss, and apply to the novel in class.

Week Sixteen (April 23): Research Presentations (Essays due April 26 12PM)


[Syllabus last modified January 19, 2008]