Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG306Y1Y L0101

ENG306Y1Y    L0101    T11-1, R11
Poetry and Prose, 1660-1800

Professor Alex Eric Hernandez
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, TBA

Brief Description of Course: Brief Description of Course: This course is an introduction to British literature spanning the Restoration to 1800, a period in which the nation was forging its identity as a global power, political controversies were reshaping notions of party and government, and experimental literary forms came into being as part of an emerging public sphere. It was also, for these reasons, an age in which what are often taken to be modern categories of personal identity (gender, race, class, religion) seem to be re-imagined across a variety of texts and media. With fresh urgency, eighteenth-century authors asked what it meant to be the subject of an empire, to be a modern person in modern times, to have or embody character.“I have discovered,” declared the inveterate biographer, James Boswell in 1762, “that we may be in some degree whatever character we choose.” Likening the self to a sort of social disguise, one popular ballad went further, adding that: “The globe is all masquerade.”

We will survey the period’s major authors and aesthetic currents in light of this, in the process thinking about the interplay--or lack thereof--between public and private selves, general “character” and particular subject, interiority and exteriority construed across a broad range of literal and metaphorical borders. What is the character of a man, a woman, a slave, indeed, a nation? How does one mediate a sense of identity on a page? How does place and territory change or nullify this? In addition to this, key topics for our year-long course will include the rise of professional print culture, changing notions of imagination and genius, sentimental and anti-sentimental modes, forms of British Enlightenment, and the scope of transatlanticism in eighteenth-century culture; genres sampled will include satire, periodicals and essays, lifewriting, fables and Oriental tales, odes, elegies, and a few representative novels and longer prose narratives. Special attention will be paid to the political and commercial expansion of the British empire during the period, as we trace patterns of circulation and influence, and think about the extent to which a text or person can be British, North American, “transatlantic,” or in fact, global.

Required Reading: Readings will include a variety of poetry and prose by authors such as Dryden, Pope, Addison, Johnson, Equiano, Burke, and Wollstonecraft among others, largely drawn from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, as well as a longer prose works by Behn, Bunyan, Swift, Defoe, et al.

First Three Authors/Texts: Selections from Pepys’ Diary, Dryden, selections from Annus Mirabilis, some of Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Method of Evaluation: Participation (15%); pop quizzes (10%); term tests (15% each); 3 essays (totaling 45%).

Link to ARTSCI Calendar Course Descriptions.

Link to ARTSCI 2016-17 Timetable with Room Allocations.

Return to 300 Level Courses.

Return to 2016-17 Fall-Winter Courses.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus