Literature 315: Studies in Eighteenth-Century

British Literature, 1660-1815


winter 2003


Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office hours: MW
11:00–1:00; W 6:15-7:15 PM

~ or by appointment ~


Section One (#171047)
Monday, Wednesday,
Friday 10:00-10:50 AM
Pray-Harrold Hall 320


electronic reserve (18c):

listserv website:

listserv address:




Course Description


Literature 315 “Studies in Eighteenth-Century British Literature” — 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.  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 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 material.



Texts & Materials


Books Available at Ned’s Bookstore (; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross):

Longman Anthology of British Literature, “The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century,”
Volume 1C, ed. David Damrosch and Stuart Sherman (Longman)

Jonathon Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (Penguin)

Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Random House)

Fanny Burney, Evelina (Norton Critical Edition)

Jane Austen, Persuasion (Random House)


Materials Available Online:

Guidelines on Essay Formatting & Organization (

Some required reading will be available online through the Halle Library’s Electronic Reserve (


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 discussions and lectures.




Course Itinerary



Section One:

The Global Early 18th Century

Selections from the Longman;

Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels


Main Assignment:

Responses & Discussion


Section Two:

Urban Cultures; Or, The Global 18th

Century Continued

Selections from the Longman;

Defoe’s Moll Flanders

Main Assignment:

Midterm Examination

Section Three:

The Domestic


Selections from the Longman;

Burney’s Evelina

Main Assignment:

Five-page essay on two of the novels incorporating criticism

Section Four:

The Domestic

Late 18th Century


Selections from the Longman;

Austen’s Persuasion


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 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 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 responses will be posted to the class listserv after each major reading assignment, or they may be handwritten if you have difficulty accessing the internet or prefer privacy.  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 midterm will have two sections — identification and short responses — comprehending both the literary and critical materials that we have discussed in class.  The final exam will have an additional section: the essay questions.  You will be able refer to an outline during that portion of the exam, but not to the books themselves.


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 examsThere will be many 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.  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

February 28, 2003



Five-Page Essay

April 16, 2003



Final Examination: Comprehensive



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, 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 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.




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:


January 6


Introduction / HOMEWORK: Get Books; Read the syllabus carefully and note down any questions; Read the introduction to the Longman anthology (pg. 2061-2074) and Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (pg. 2445-2448)



Wednesday, January 8


Survey Period & Discuss Swift / HOMEWORK: Finish Introduction (pg. 2074-2084) & Read Selections from Spectator, Tatler, etc. in the Longman anthology (pg. 2387, 2396-2413)



January 10


Discuss Early Modern Print Culture / HOMEWORK: Read “Inkle and Yarico” (2413-2415); Read Selections from the Female Spectator (pg. 2422-23, 2433-37); Intro. to Gulliver’s Travels and Chapters 1-3 of Part One; Write Response


Week Two:


January 13


Discuss Periodicals and Gulliver’s Travels / HOMEWORK: Finish Part One of Gulliver’s Travels

Wednesday, January 15

 Discuss Gulliver’s Travels / HOMEWORK: Read Gulliver’s Travels, Part Two,

Chapters 1-5


January 17


Discuss Gulliver’s Travels / HOMEWORK: Finish Part Two of Gulliver’s Travels, Read Part Three, Chapters 1-3


Week Three:


January 20


Wednesday, January 22


Discuss Gulliver’s Travels / HOMEWORK: Read Gulliver’s Travels, Part Four, Chap.  1-5



January 24


Discuss Gulliver’s Travels / HOMEWORK: Finish Gulliver’s Travels; Read “A Modest Proposal” (2466-2472); Write Response


Week Four:

Monday, January 27



Discuss Gulliver’s Travels and “Modest Proposal” / HOMEWORK: Read Pope,

Rape of the Lock, Cantos 1-2 (2504-12)


Wednesday, January 29


Discuss Rape of the Lock / HOMEWORK: Read Pope, Rape, Cantos 3-4 (2512-20)




January 31



Discuss Rape of the Lock / HOMEWORK: Finish and Re-read Pope, Rape of the Lock; Read Giles Jacob, “Rape of the Smock,” Book I (Electronic Reserve); Write Response


Week Five:


Monday, February 3




Discuss Rape of the Lock (and its Smock)/ HOMEWORK: Read Gay, Beggar’s Opera,

Act I – Act II, Scene 6 (pg. 2585-2608)




Wednesday, February 5



Discuss Beggar’s Opera / HOMEWORK: Read Gay, Beggar’s Opera, Act II, Scene 7 – Act III (pg. 2609-2632)




February 7



Discuss Beggar’s Opera / HOMEWORK: “Read” Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress, pg. 2646-55 (visual); Read Thomas Gray, “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat” (2714-15); Read Defoe, Moll Flanders




Monday, February 10


Discuss Hogarth, Gray, and Moll Flanders / HOMEWORK: Read Defoe, Moll Flanders


Wednesday, February 12


Discuss Moll Flanders / HOMEWORK: Read Defoe, Moll Flanders



February 14


Discuss Moll Flanders / HOMEWORK: Read Defoe, Moll Flanders


Week Seven:

Monday, February 17


Discuss Moll Flanders / HOMEWORK: Read Defoe, Moll Flanders


Wednesday, February 19


Discuss Moll Flanders / HOMEWORK: Read Defoe, Moll Flanders



February 21


Discuss Moll Flanders / HOMEWORK: Finish Defoe, Moll Flanders; Write Response




Monday, February 24



Discuss Moll Flanders and Review for Midterm / HOMEWORK: Write a response comparing/contrasting Moll Flanders to two other texts that we have read



Wednesday, February 26



Discuss Responses / HOMEWORK: Review and Prepare for Midterm



February 28



Midterm Exam / HOMEWORK: Read Evelina, Vol. I – Vol. II, Letter XV (3-31, 51-248)


Week Nine:

March 3 – 9





March 10



Discuss Evelina / HOMEWORK: Read Evelina, Finish Vol. II (248-308)




March 12


Library Research / HOMEWORK Read Evelina to Vol. III, Letter XI (308-369)



March 14


Library Research / HOMEWORK: Finish Evelina; Write Response


Week Eleven:


March 17


Discuss Evelina / HOMEWORK: Read Thrale-Piozzi, “The Family Book” (2859-64) & “Thraliana” (2864-73); Read Goldsmith, opening chapter of The Vicar of Wakefield (Electronic Reserve)


Wednesday, March 19


Discuss Burney, Thrale-Piozzi, & Goldsmith / HOMEWORK: Read Selections of Samuel Richardson, Pamela and Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (Electronic Reserve)



March 21


Discuss Burney, Fielding, & Richardson / HOMEWORK: Read Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village” (2874-2886); Write Response


Week Twelve:


March 24


Discuss 18th-Century Sentimentalism / HOMEWORK: Read Sheridan, School for Scandal, (2886-2913)

Wednesday, March 26


Discuss School for Scandal / HOMEWORK: Read Sheridan, School for Scandal (2913-2932)



March 28


Discuss School for Scandal / HOMEWORK: Finish Sheridan, School for Scandal; Read Guidelines on Essay Formatting & Organization (


Week Thirteen:


March 31


Discuss School for Scandal and Essays/ HOMEWORK: Prepare Proposal for Essay & Write Outline; Essay Due April 16


Wednesday, April 2


Discuss Essays/ HOMEWORK: Read Austen, Persuasion



April 4


Discuss Persuasion / HOMEWORK: Read Austen, Persuasion


Week Fourteen:

Monday, April 7


Discuss Persuasion / HOMEWORK: Read Austen, Persuasion

Wednesday, April 9


Discuss Persuasion / HOMEWORK: Read Austen, Persuasion


Friday, April 11

Discuss Persuasion / HOMEWORK: Finish Austen, Persuasion; Write a response comparing/contrasting Persuasion to two other (post-midterm) texts; Work on Essays; Prepare for Final Exam

Week Fifteen:

Monday, April 14

Review for Final Exam / HOMEWORK: Work on Essays; Prepare for Final Exam

Wednesday, April 16

Review for Final Exam / HOMEWORK: Prepare for Final Exam

Week Sixteen:

April 21 - 26