online syllabus:


electronic reserve:


listserv website:


listserv address:


~ schedule (revised) ~


Literature 315: Enlightenment and Its Discontents

Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century

British Literature, 1660-1815


fall 2003


Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office Hours: Monday 8:00–11:00; 12:00-1:00; 2:00-3:00

~ or by appointment ~


Honors Section # 14763
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:00 - 1:50 PM
Pray-Harrold Hall 319




“Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man. … He mixes and confuses the climates, the elements, the seasons.  He mutilates his dog, his horse, his slave.  He turns everything upside down; … he loves deformity, monsters.  He wants nothing as nature made it, not even man. … In the present state of things a man abandoned to himself in the midst of other men … would be the most disfigured of all.  Prejudices, authority, necessity, example, all the social institutions … stifle nature [and] put nothing in its place.”

Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education (1762).  For an apt example, see Miss Hoare’s “Modern Venus” (1785) and Lady Ossory’s more decorous “Modern Venus” (1786) below.

Enlightenment and Its Discontents: Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature

­Literature 315, otherwise known as “Literature of the Neoclassical Period,” is a class in which we will investigate a wide variety of British literature from the period spanning the late seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries.  Since neoclassicism is only one of many genres prevalent at the time and not necessarily the most interesting nor even the most important one, we will also consider a wide variety of genres representative of the period, whether gothic, orientalist, libertine, sentimental, epistolary, or indeed any other aesthetic of interest, including those found in the visual arts such as the picturesque, chinoiserie, or rococo.  This period is generally referred to as the “long” eighteenth century in order to account for the aftereffects of the revolutions that precede and close the century, both of which profoundly influence the direction of British literary culture; namely, the Restoration (of the monarchy) following the Civil War and, of course, the French Revolution, the period’s spectacular fin de siècle denouement. 


Perhaps more than any other period, the eighteenth century represents a moment that we must evaluate and reevaluate to challenge the values of our own time.  Often considered the quaint, tea-and-crumpets blueprint for civil societies across the globe, the British eighteenth century in fact 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.  And ultimately whether discussing literature or world events, we will attempt to expand rather than confine our engagement with the materials, not only putting them in dialogue with the historical and philosophical contexts of the time, but also examining how they resemble the myriad claims to (and contestations against) modernity that still continue to vex our own.


Required Texts

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:


v       Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Restoration and Eighteenth Century, Vol. 1c, Ed. Lawrence Lipking (Norton 1999; ISBN #0-393-97567-3)

v       The Portable Enlightenment Reader, Ed. Isaac Kramnick (Penguin 1995; ISBN # 0-140-24566-9)

v       Daniel Defoe, Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress, Ed. John Mullan (Oxford 1998; ISBN # 0-192-83459-2)

v       Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest, Ed. Chloe Chard (Oxford 1999; ISBN # 0-19-283713-3)

v       Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Ed. Claudia L. Johnson (Norton 2002; ISBN # 0-393-97751-x)

Please make sure to get the same editions pictured and listed above; otherwise, the differing page numbers will make it difficult for you to follow along with class discussions.  Some required readings, if not already included in the books above or distributed in class, will be available online at the Halle Library’s Electronic Reserve website:  (Contact another student or myself if you forget the password.)  If you experience difficulty printing reserve material (e.g. it prints in a mirror image), simply uncheck the options in the print menu, especially the “Fit to Page” option that is selected by default.  Hard copies of online reserve materials will be available at the Halle circulation desk if they comprise more than ten pages or require downloading over 1000 KB.



Nothing is more vital for success in this course than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the daily reading assignments and class discussions.  There will be a large number of writing assignments: informal responses, polished essays, and essay exams.  The responses will be posted to the class listserv after each major reading assignment, or they may be handwritten if you prefer privacy or have difficulty accessing the internet.  Your responses should be at least two paragraphs in length, although longer (or more engaged) responses will not only enhance your grade, but also increase the ability of other students and myself to offer feedback.  The responses can be on subjects of your own choice, but must relate to the readings assigned for that day.  In contrast to the responses, the essays will offer a thorough examination of the readings, incorporate at least some literary criticism, and have the proper academic format.  The primary difference between a response and an essay is that with the responses, the mechanical elements of writing do not matter in the least, and the goal is to freely and openly express ideas; whereas, with the essays, the mechanical elements of writing must be attended to very thoroughly and the goal is to defend a focused argument clearly, coherently, and persuasively.  There will be two take-home exams, at the middle and at the end of the semester.  They will have two sections — critical responses and essay questions — comprehending the literary, filmic, and critical materials that we have covered in class.  


Make sure to bring a copy of the novel or short story that we are discussing to class.  Also, make sure to keep up with the readings in order to have plenty of preparation for the essays and exams.  There may be periodic, unannounced quizzes to ensure that you are keeping up with the reading.  As with any university course, homework will take around two hours for every hour of class, and thus you can expect each week to spend six hours outside of class completing the various assignments and readings.



There will be informal, in-class, 15-minute presentations of the research that you have done for your final essay scheduled periodically towards the semester; there will also be presentations during our last class, the time scheduled for the final exam.  I will pick the order of the presentations randomly, which is most fair to all concerned.  You need not have the paper written to do the presentation, in which you will simply provide background on your topic, identify a tentative thesis, and offer a synopsis of the historical context and critical debates relating to each.  Indeed, it may well be best not to have written the paper in advance, for I generally find that students only figure out the true purpose of their argument and inspiration for their essay after presenting their position to others.  However, if you do the presentation early, you will also have to turn in your research proposal early, at least a week in advance so that there will be time to consult with me and arrange a date beforehand.  You must turn in a research proposal at least two weeks in advance of your presentation so that there will be time to consult with me beforehand about your research.






Responses, Participation,

and Research Presentation




Take-Home Examination 1

November 3, 2003



Take-Home Examination 2

December 15, 2003



Research Essay (8-10 Pages)

December 21, 2003


Any late essay or exam will drop a third of a grade for each day late; that is, an A paper will turn into A- if turned in one day late, an A paper will turn into B+ if turned in two days late, and so on.  Responses are worth up to 15 points; late responses are marked down only minimally, but must be turned in within a week of the initial due date.  The best way to make up a response is by comparing the reading that you missed to that which the class is currently considering.  This will help both you and the other students make connections and comparisons that span the course as a whole.  The participation grade, largely based on responses, quizzes, and the research presentation, is a considerable portion of your final grade — 20% — so keep up with the reading and response assignments and make your voice heard in class.  Your total response points will be averaged, put on a fair grading curve, and then bumped up or down slightly depending on how actively you engage in class discussions.  The second take-home exam is not cumulative, nor will it cover as much material as the first exam, in order to free up more time and energy for the research essays.


Academic Dishonesty

Any plagiarized writing or cheating on the exams will automatically result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment.  Thus, if you cheat on the first exam or plagiarize on the research essay, you can expect, at most, to receive a C- (or 70%) for your final grade, supposing that you did everything else perfectly.  With the internet, plagiarism is quite easy and tempting to do; however, the internet also makes plagiarism that much more easy for professors to catch and document, so do not even think about doing it in this class or elsewhere.  Plagiarism is a very serious offense against the Code of Student Conduct.  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 citing your source, you are guilty of plagiarism.  According to Funk and Wagnalls’ New Standard Dictionary (1921), plagiarism is the “act of plagiarizing or appropriating the ideas, writings, or inventions of another without due acknowledgment; specifically, the stealing of passages either for word or in substance, from the writings of another and publishing them as one’s own.”  In short, plagiarism is theft.  Note: Turning in a paper that you wrote for another class as the final paper, i.e. recycling the same words for double credit, also constitutes academic dishonesty at EMU.   


Because this class primarily consists of reading and discussion — rather than facts, figures, or memorization — attendance is crucial.  You may be absent four times without penalty.  Each absence after that will result in a reduction of your final grade by one-third the letter grade: that is, the fifth class missed will turn a final grade of an A into an A-; the sixth, into a B+; and so on.  The four absences are for emergencies, so if you ditch the class four times, do not expect a reprieve from the rule if you become ill or have other extenuating circumstances towards the end of the semester.  If there is a true documented emergency (a death in the family, lost limb, prison term, &c.) at the end of the semester, I will go out of my way to help in any way I can, including giving an incomplete, supposing that you have otherwise kept up with the assignments, attended class regularly, and finished a majority of the course.  Aside from the grade reduction, missing classes will hinder your ability to do the assignments properly and promptly.  Likewise, even though there will be no penalty for lateness, it can have several undesirable consequences: you may miss critical information (such as the extension of a deadline) often covered in the first ten minutes of class and, of course, you will likely distract other students and myself while entering the room.  If you are late, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have not been marked absent.  If you are absent from class, contact another student who can fill you in on missed work before contacting me.  Above all, make sure to withdraw from the course by November 11, 2003 if you find that you cannot attend class regularly or fall too far behind in the reading. 

Course Itinerary


Section One:

The Global Eighteenth Century


Main Assignment:

Responses & Discussion


Selections from the Portable Enlightenment and

Norton Anthology; Including Philosophies of Race, Cultures Primitive/Progressive, and Wholesale Conquest (Hume, Kant, Gibbon, Adam Smith, &c.), Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Steele’s “Inkle and Yarico,” Addison’s “Royal Exchange,” Behn’s Oroonoko, Sancho and Sterne’s letters, Equiano’s

Interesting Narrative

Section Two:

Inventions, Ideologies: Sexuality and Gender

Main Assignment:

Take-Home Exam 1

Haywood’s Fantomina; Fielding’s “Female Husband”;

Defoe’s Roxana; Selections from the Portable Enlightenment

and Norton Anthology, Including Materialisms (la Mettrie, Cleland) and Gender Politics (Astell, Kant); Pope’s Rape of the Lock,

and Gray’s Odes

Section Three:

Counter-Culture, Counter-Revolution, and the Surfeit of Conformity

Main Assignment:

8-10 pg. essay on at least one of the major readings incorporating research and criticism

Brief Tour thro’ the novel (Richardson, Fielding,

Goldsmith); Thrale-Piozzi’s diaries; Home’s Scottish Tragedy, Douglas; Radcliffe’s Romance of the Forest; Blake; Selections from the Portable Enlightenment and Norton Anthology,

Including Political Theory, Revolutionary Debates, Religion/Superstition, and Aesthetics

Section Four:

Retrofitting the Eighteenth Century

Main Assignment:

Take-Home Exam 2


Application to Austen’s Sense and Sensibility; Contextual

and Critical Materials





Section One: The Global Eighteenth Century


Wednesday, September 3: Introduction; Jonathan Swift, “Lady’s Dressing Room” (In-class handout) / Homework: Review the syllabus and write down any questions that you have; Get books; Read “The Restoration and Eighteenth Century” in the Norton Anthology (NA), pgs. 2045-49; Read another (better) introduction also entitled “The Restoration and Eighteenth Century” from the Longman Anthology (905-928) in the Electronic Reserves (ER) at (18c); and Immanuel Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” in the Portable Enlightenment (PE), pg. 1-7.  Identical versions of the Norton introduction and “What is Enlightenment?” are available in the ER if you cannot get the books by Friday.


Friday, September 5: Overview of Enlightenment, Eighteenth Century, & Class Objectives; Discuss Kant / Homework: Email to be added onto the class listerv; Read Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Introductory Material; Part I, Chapt. 1 & 5-6; and Part II, Chapt. 1-5 & 8 (NA 2298-99; 2329-40, 2354-64, 2372-98, 2407-14)


Monday, September 8: Discuss Travel Narratives, Swift / Homework: Read Gulliver’s Travels, Part III, Chapt. 1 and Part IV, Chapt. 1-7 (NA 2414-19, 2428-54); Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (ER 57-60, 69-72); Adam Smith, “Four Stage Theory” (PE 378-80)


Wednesday, September 10: Discuss Swift, Epistolary Anthropology (Montagu, Smith, & the Scottish Enlightenment Generally) / Homework: Finish Gulliver’s Travels (NA 2454-73); Read Laura Brown, “Reading Race” (ER 366-69); Horace Walpole, “Account of the Giants Lately Discovered” (ER, 9 pgs.); Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography and Its Representations,” Orientalism (ER, 4 pgs.)


Friday, September 12: Discuss Swift/Walpole, Brown’s Foes or Proto-Saids? / Homework: Read Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (NA 2165-67; 2170-2188); Ann Bermingham, “Fashion’s Revolutions” (ER 99-106); Malek Alloula, The Colonial Harem (ER 7-26, largely images); Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather (ER 21, 27-31,36-42, 44-45); Write a Response on Swift or Behn (or both) that incorporates at least one of the critics, sending it in plain text to the listserv email address at; For confirmation or to see responses, visit the listerv archives at; If you have any difficulty, either email your response to me or turn in a hard copy on Monday.


Monday, September 15: Discuss Behn, the Erotics of Cultural Consumption / Homework: Finish Oroonoko (NA 2188-2215); Read Sancho’s and Sterne’s letters, Samuel Johnson (NA 2806-12)


Wednesday, September 17: Discuss Behn, Sympathy Tragic & Transcontinental / Homework: Read Richard Steele, “Inkle and Yarico,” Spectator #11 (ER 47-51); Felicity Nussbaum, “Sexual Geography” (ER 95-97, 112-13); Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative (NA 12-21); Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey (ER 152-158); Nell Boyce, “Out of Africa?” (ER 54-55)


Friday, September 19: Discuss Sentimentalism & its Economics / Homework: Read Joseph Addison, “The Royal Exchange,” Spectator #69 (PE 480-82); Smith, Wealth of Nations (PE 505-14); Enlightenment Discourses on Slavery (PE 629-39, 644, 649-57, 669); Write a response on Oroonoko incorporating at least one of the week’s secondary sources, whether critical, philosophical, or historical.


Monday, September 22: The Global Eighteenth Century in Conclusion: Global Culture, Global Production, & Global Cultural Production / Homework: Read Eliza Haywood, Fantomina (


Section Two: Inventions, Ideologies; Sexuality and Gender


Wednesday, September 24: Discuss Haywood, Amatory Fiction, & the “Rise” of the Novel / Homework:  Read Henry Fielding, “The Female Husband” (ER 29-51); Bermingham, “The Picturesque and Ready-to-Wear Femininity” (ER 81-82, 90-99)


Friday, September 26: Discuss Fielding, Female Masquerade, & Authorial Transvesticism / Homework:  Read Daniel Defoe, Roxana (Intro. vii-xxvii, Preface, 5-30), paying especial attention to the preface; Read la Mettrie, “Man a Machine” (PE 202-8); John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, a.k.a. “Fanny Hill” (PE 257-65); Cleland’s full text (not required) is available online at the following address


Monday, September 29: Discuss Defoe, Materialism, and Pornography / Homework:  Read Defoe, Roxana (30-80)


Wednesday, October 1: Discuss Defoe / Homework:  Read Defoe, Roxana (80-130)


Friday, October 3: Discuss Defoe / Homework:  Read Defoe, Roxana (130-190); Mary Astell, “Some Reflections on Marriage” (PE 560-567)


Monday, October 6: Discuss Defoe, Astell, the Commodification of Women / Homework:  Read Defoe, Roxana (190-240)


Wednesday, October 8: Discuss Defoe / Homework:  Read Defoe, Roxana (240-290)


Friday, October 10:  Discuss Defoe / Homework:  Finish Defoe, Roxana (290-330); Write a response on Defoe and Haywood or Defoe and Fielding (or all three) that incorporates at least one of the secondary materials and post to the listserv; Read Alexander Pope, “Essay on Man,” lines 1-76 (NA 2554-55, 2555-56); Pope, Rape of the Lock, “Letter to Mrs. Arabella Fermor,” & Canto 1 (2505-8, 2526-30)


Monday, October 13:  Discuss Defoe, Pope, & the Economies of Gender / Homework:  Read Pope, Rape of the Lock, Cantos 2-3 (2530-37); Jean Jacques Rousseau, “Duties of Women” (PE 568-79)


Wednesday, October 15: Discuss Pope, Rousseau, Sexualities Neoclassical & Romantic / Homework:  Read Pope, Rape of the Lock, Cantos 4-5 (2537-44); Kant, “The Fair Sex” (PE 580-86); Giles Jacob, “Rape of the Smock,” Book I (ER 203-9)


Friday, October 17:  Discuss the Male (or Readerly) Gaze, Aesthetic Verisimilitude & Voyeurism / Homework:  Re-read Pope, Rape of the Lock (2526-44); Thomas Paine, “Women, Adored and Oppressed” (PE 586-590); Laura Brown, “Capitalizing on Women,” Ends of Empire (ER 103, 112-18); Write Response on Pope incorporating criticism and post to the listserv.


Monday, October 20: Discuss Pope, Paine, Sexualities Amazon & African / Homework:  Thomas Gray, “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drown’d in a Tub of Gold Fishes” (ER, 1 pg. [Also Available Imageless NA 2829-30]); Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” (NA 2830-33); William Blake’s Illustrations (ER, 2 docs, 4 pgs.); Gray’s Letters, Including the Tour thro’ the Alps (ER TBA)


Wednesday, October 22:  Discuss Gray / Homework:  Review materials and guidelines for midterm exam; Read “Guidelines on Essay Formatting and Organization,” particularly for organizational tips; Write down any questions that you have.


Friday, October 24: Discuss Essay Guidelines & Take-Home Examination 1, Due Monday, November 3 / Homework:  Do Take-Home Exam


Monday, October 27- Friday, October 31:  Watch and Discuss Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility Wednesday 4-7 PM at Halle Library, Room 302 / Homework:  Do Take-Home Exam; Read Oliver Goldsmith, “The Deserted Village” (NA 2857-67); Optional reading, Deborah Kaplan’s “Mass Marketing Jane Austen” in the Norton Critical Edition of Sense and Sensibility (SS) (402-410), which I will discuss (and summarize) on Wednesday; If you cannot make it to the screening, watch the video on reserve in the library.


Section Three: Counter-Culture, Counter-Revolution, and the Surfeit of Conformity


Monday, November 3:  Discuss Goldsmith, Review Research Papers and Presentations (Proposal Due Mon., December 1) / Homework: Read Selections from Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield (ER 9-12); Hester Thrale-Piozzi, “Family Book” (ER 2858-61, 2863-64, 2868-71); Samuel Richardson, Pamela (ER 82-87, 198-205, 353), and Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (ER 67-69, 78-80, 324-331); William Warner, “The Pamela Media Event” (ER, 5 pgs.)


Wednesday, November 5:  Discuss “Why the Story of the Origin of the (English) Novel is an American Romance (If Not the Great American Novel)” (from Homer Brown, Cultural Institutions of the Novel) / Homework: Read John Home, Douglas (ER 1-69)


Friday, November 7: Discuss the Gothic Revival and its Celtic Fringe / Homework:  Read Ann Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (vii-xxiv, 1-44); Burke, “The Sublime” (PE 329-32); Blake, Annotations on Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses III & VII (ER 404-7, 409-12); Reynolds’ Discourses, available in the Supplemental Readings (ER), are not required.


Monday, November 10:  Discuss Intertexts: Romanticism on about Neoclassicism / Homework:  Read Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (44-97); Read Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (PE 185-87)


Wednesday, November 12:  Discuss Radcliffe, Locke, Gothic Empiricism  / Homework:  Read Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (97-142); Frances Burney, “Encountering the King” (NA 2793-97)


Friday, November 14:  Discuss Radcliffe, Melodrama, Madness, and Institutional Vicissitudes / Homework:  Read Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (142-199); Hume, “Of Miracles” (ER, 9 pgs.); Paine, “Age of Reason” (PE 174-80)


Monday, November 17:  Discuss Radcliffe, Hume, and Secular Superstition  / Homework:  Read Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (199-244); Rousseau, “Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar” (PE 134-39)


Wednesday, November 19:  Discuss Radcliffe, Rousseau, Romantic Exile / Homework:  Read Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (244-293); Rousseau, “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” (PE 424-29)


Friday, November 21:  Discuss the Social & Sexual Contracts / Homework:  Finish Radcliffe, Romance of the Forest (293-363); Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (SS 273-75); Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (SS 281-83); Write a response on Radcliffe that incorporates at least one of the secondary materials and post to the listserv


Monday, November 24:  Discuss the Surfeit of Conformity in Conclusion, the Romance of Real Life  / Homework:  Read Raymond Williams, “Sensibility” (SS 333-36); Samuel Johnson, Rambler, No. 4 “On Fiction” (NA 2712-15); Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (SS ix-xviii, 5-135); Do Research Essay Proposal, due Monday, December 1 with the essay itself due Sunday, December 21.


Wednesday, November 26 - Friday, November 28: Thanksgiving Recess


Section Four: Retrofitting the Eighteenth Century


Monday, December 1:  Discuss Austen’s Sense of Sense and Sensibility / Homework:  Read Austen, Sense and Sensibility (135-97)


Wednesday, December 3:  Discuss Austen  / Homework:  Read Austen, Sense and Sensibility (197-252); Read Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women (SS 284-90)


Friday, December 5:  Discuss Austen, Johnson, Williams  / Homework:  Finish Austen, Sense and Sensibility (252-69); Read Isobel Armstrong, “Taste”; Deidre Shauna Lynch, “The Personal and the Pro Forma”; Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl” (SS 338-48, 359-73, 382-401); Write a response on Austen that incorporates at least one of the secondary materials and post to the listserv


Monday, December 8:  Discuss Austen and Austen Criticism  / Homework:  Review Readings and Guidelines for Take-Home Examination 2, Due Monday, December 15; Write down questions.


Wednesday, December 10:  Review Take-Home Examination 2 and Presentations / Homework: Do Take-Home Examination 2; Prepare for Presentations; Write Research Essay.


Monday, December 15, 1:00 — 2:30 PM: Research Presentations.  Take-Home Examination 2 Due. 


Sunday, December 21, 12:00 PM:  Research Essay Due.  Drop it in my mailbox in the English Dept., 612 Pray Harrold (the office will be closed, but you can approach the mailboxes from the back hallway) or slide it under my office door, 603G Pray Harrold.  Anything handed in after 12 PM sharp will not be given any credit.  Also leave a self-addressed, stamped manila envelope if you want commentary on your essay. 



Miss Hoare’s “Modern Venus” (1785)

Lady Ossory’s “Modern Venus” veiled (1786)