Literature 315: Eighteenth-Century Studies

British Literature, 1660-1798


fall 2002


Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office hours: MWF 10:00 - 11:00 AM; MW 2:00-3:00

~ or by appointment ~


Section One
Monday, Wednesday,
Friday 1:00-1:50 PM
Pray-Harrold Hall 319


printable syllabus:







Course Description


Literature 315 “Eighteenth-Century Studies” — otherwise known as “Literature of the Neoclassical Period” — is a class in which we will investigate a wide variety of eighteenth-century British literature, using the Longman Anthology of British Literature as our guide in conjunction with the many traveling protagonists of the eighteenth-century novel: Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Fielding’s Joseph Andrews, Austen’s Fanny Price, and even Samuel Johnson’s own “Samuel Johnson” as represented in the travel diary.  Perhaps more than any other period, the British eighteenth century represents a moment that we must evaluate and reevaluate to challenge the values of our own time.  Often considered the quaint origin of all civil societies, the British eighteenth century witnesses both the positives and negatives of modernity in the extreme.  Thus, in midst of the massive expansion of the slave trade, the birth of the market economy, and an increasingly rigid sex-gender system, we find a celebration of art and culture that professors 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.



Texts & Materials


The Following Books are Available at the EMU Bookstore (McKenny Union, 487-1000):

Longman Anthology of British Literature, “The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century,”

Volume 1C, ed. David Damrosch and Stuart Sherman (Longman)

Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland (Penguin)

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Oxford UP)

Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (Penguin)

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Oxford UP)


Available Online:

Guidelines on Essay Formatting & Organization (


If you purchase books used or at other bookstores, please ensure that you get the same edition as the texts listed above; otherwise, the differing page numbers will make it difficult for you to follow along with the discussions and lectures.





Course Itinerary



Section One:

The Global Early 18th-Century

Selections from the Longman;

Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe


Main Assignment:

Responses & Discussion


Section Two:

The Global


Selections from the Longman;

Johnson’s Journey to the Western Isles

Main Assignment:

Midterm Examination

Section Three:

The Domestic


Selections from the Longman;

Fielding’s Joseph Andrews

Main Assignment:

Five-page essay on one of the novels (or two novels together) incorporating criticism

Section Four:

The Domestic

Late 18th Century


Selections from the Longman;

Austen’s Mansfield Park


Main Assignment: Comprehensive Final Exam







Because this class primarily consists of reading and discussion — rather than facts, figures, and 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.  Aside from the grade reduction, missing classes will hinder your ability to do the assignments properly and promptly.  Although 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 while entering the room.  If you are absent from class, contact another student who can fill you in on missed work.  Above all, make sure to withdraw from the course if you find that you cannot attend class regularly. 







There will be a large number of writing assignments: informal responses, more formal essays, and essay exams.  The responses will 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 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.  The midterm and final exams will have three sections — identification, short responses, and essay questions — and will comprehend both the literary and critical materials that we have discussed in class.  You will be able refer to an outline during the exams for the essay questions, but not to the books themselves.


The responses will be posted to the class listserv after each major reading assignment, or they may be handwritten if you have any difficulty accessing the internet.  Your responses should be at least one paragraph 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.  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. 


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.  We will review one writing handout — “Guidelines on Essay Formatting and Organization” — before you turn in your essays and prepare for the exams. 










Responses and Class Participation





Midterm Examination

Wednesday, October 9



Five-page Essay

Monday, December 16



Final Examination: Comprehensive

Monday, December 16, 1–2:30 PM


The essays will be given two grades: one for the quality of the theme and one for the quality of the writing.  Any late essay 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 just one grade, no matter how late, so as to encourage you to make up the readings and thereby prepare for the exams.  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 is a significant portion of your final grade — 20% — so keep up with the reading 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 considerably depending on how actively you engage in class discussions.




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 plagiarize on the essay, you can expect, at most, to receive a B- (or 80%) for your final grade, supposing that you did everything else perfectly.  If you cheat or plagiarize on the final exam, you can expect, at most, to receive a D (or 65%) for your final grade, again 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.






Week One:

Wednesday, September 4


Introduction / HOMEWORK: Get Books; Print out Guidelines on Essay Formatting & Organization; Read Introduction to “The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century” in the Longman anthology (pg. 905-928) & Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (pg. 1074-1078); both available online at


Friday, September 6


Survey Period & Discuss Swift / HOMEWORK: Read Selections from Spectator, Tatler, and Female Spectator in the Longman anthology (pg. 946-972); Write Response; available online at


Week Two:

Monday, September 9


Discuss Early Print Culture / HOMEWORK: Read the first portion of Behn’s Oroonoko, in the Longman anthology (pg. 1026-1069); available online at


Wednesday, September 11

 Discuss Oroonoko / HOMEWORK: Read the second portion of Behn’s Oroonoko, in the Longman anthology (pg. 1026-1069); available online at

Friday, September 13


Discuss Oroonoko / HOMEWORK: Re-read Behn’s Oroonoko; Write Response


Week Three:

Monday, September 16


Discuss Oroonoko / HOMEWORK: Read Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe; Ed.’s Intro., Preface, & pg. 3-40


Wednesday, September 18


Discuss Robinson Crusoe / HOMEWORK: Read Robinson Crusoe; pg. 40-80


Friday, September 20


Discuss Robinson Crusoe / HOMEWORK: Read Robinson Crusoe; pg. 81-140; Write Response


Week Four:

Monday, September 23



Discuss Robinson Crusoe / HOMEWORK: Read Robinson Crusoe; pg. 141-185



Wednesday, September 25


Discuss Robinson Crusoe / HOMEWORK: Read Robinson Crusoe; pg. 186-235



Friday, September 27



Discuss Robinson Crusoe / HOMEWORK: Finish Robinson Crusoe; Write Response


Week Five:


Monday, September 30




Discuss Robinson Crusoe / HOMEWORK: Johnson, Rambler No. 4 “On Fiction” (2732-35) & Idler No. 97, “On Travel Writing” (2758-60); Montagu, Intro., Turkish Embassy Letters (2572-77); Swift, “A Modest Proposal” (2466-72); Petty, “Political Arithmetic” (2472-73)




Wednesday, October 2



Discuss Johnson, Montagu, Swift, Petty/ HOMEWORK: Read Johnson, A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, pg. 11-66; McClintock Handout (on Web:




October 4



Discuss Journey to the Western Isles / HOMEWORK: Read Johnson, A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, pg. 66-119




Monday, October 7


Discuss Journey to the Western Isles / HOMEWORK: Finish Journey; Read Boswell’s Tour (also in the Journey), Introductory material to pg. 168 & pg. 218-221; Write Response


Wednesday, October 9


Discuss Journey & Tour / HOMEWORK: Read Cowper, Intro. & “The Cast Away” (2685-87); Pope, stanza from “Windsor Forest” (2502-3); Thomson, Intro., The Seasons (2692-96) & “Rule, Britannia” (2696-97)



October 11


Discuss 18th-Century Poetry / HOMEWORK: Review for Midterm; Read Guidelines on Essay Formatting (


Week Seven:

Monday, October 14


Review for Midterm / HOMEWORK: Review and Prepare for Midterm


Wednesday, October 16


Midterm Exam / HOMEWORK: Do Take-Home Essay Questions



October 18


Watch Brecht’s Three-Penny Opera/ HOMEWORK: Read Pope, Intro. & “Rape of the Lock” (2504-23)




Monday, October 21




Discuss Pope / HOMEWORK: Re-read “Rape of the Lock”; Read Thomas Gray, Intro. & “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat” (2714-15); Write Response




Wednesday, October 23



Discuss Pope and Gray / HOMEWORK: Read Richardson’s Pamela (brief selection online; Fielding, Joseph Andrews; Preface (49-54) & pg. 61-67




October 25




Discuss Joseph Andrews / HOMEWORK: Read Joseph Andrews, pg. 68-143



Week Nine:

Monday, October 28



Discuss Joseph Andrews / HOMEWORK: Read Joseph Andrews, pg. 143-188



Wednesday, October 30



Discuss Joseph Andrews / HOMEWORK: Read Joseph Andrews, pg. 188-232



Friday, November 1



Discuss Joseph Andrews / HOMEWORK: Finish Joseph Andrews; Write Response





Monday, November 4



Discuss Joseph Andrews / HOMEWORK: Read selections of 18th-Century Philosophy: Intro. (265-57), Newton (2657-60), Locke (2660-65), & Hume (2674-80)



Wednesday, November 6



Discuss 18th-Century Philosophy / HOMEWORK: Read Gay, Beggar’s Opera; Intro. and Acts I & II (pg. 2588-2617)



Friday, November 8



Discuss Beggar’s Opera / HOMEWORK: Finish Beggar’s Opera, Read the Companion Readings (p. 2632-46); “Read” Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress, Intro. & pg. 2646-55 (visual); Write Response


Week Eleven:

Monday, November 11


Discuss Beggar’s Opera  & Rake’s Progress / HOMEWORK: Read Thrale-Piozzi, Intro., “The Family Book” (2859-64); Read Sterne, opening chapter of Tristram Shandy (;
Read Goldsmith, opening chapter of The Vicar of Wakefield (


Wednesday, November 13


Discuss Thrale-Piozzi, Goldsmith,  & Sterne / HOMEWORK: Read Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village” (2874-2886)


Friday, November 15


Discuss 18th-Century Sentimentalism & “Deserted Village” / HOMEWORK: Read Sheridan, Intro. & School for Scandal (2888-2946); Write Response


Week Twelve:

Monday, November 18


Discuss School for Scandal / HOMEWORK: Read Austen’s Mansfield Park, Ed.’s Intro. & pg. 1-29


Wednesday, November 20


Discuss Mansfield Park / HOMEWORK: Read Austen’s Mansfield Park, pg. 29-75


Friday, November 22


Discuss Mansfield Park / HOMEWORK: Read Austen’s Mansfield Park, pg. 75-155


Week Thirteen:

Monday, November 25



Discuss Mansfield Park / HOMEWORK: Read Austen’s Mansfield Park, pg. 155-302; Write response; Prepare Proposal for Essay & Write Outline; Essay Due December 16


Wednesday, November 27



Friday, November 29



Week Fourteen:

Monday, December 2


Discuss Mansfield Park / HOMEWORK: Read Austen’s Mansfield Park, pg. 302-353


Wednesday, December 4


Discuss Mansfield Park / HOMEWORK: Finish Austen’s Mansfield Park; Review for Final Exam


Friday, December 6


Discuss Mansfield Park & Review for Final Exam / HOMEWORK: Prepare for Final Exam


Week Fifteen:

Monday, December 9


Review for Final Exam / HOMEWORK: Prepare for Final Exam


Monday, December 16

1–2:30 PM