Department of English

University of Toronto

3000 Series 2011-12

DRAMA, 1660-1710

Critical reading of plays by Dryden, Shadwell, Otway, Lee, Etherege, Wycherley, Behn, Congreve, Vanbrugh, Cibber, Centlivre, Farquhar, Rowe, and others in the context of theatre history, politics in the theatre, and critical controversies (old and new).


Seminar, with several brief papers (5-10 minutes), minimal lecturing, discussion.

The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama, ed. Canfield (Broadview); supplementary texts.

Some familiarity with the history of the period is extremely helpful.

Date & Time: Wednesday, 9 - 11 am.
Room: JHB 718, Jackman Humanities Building


Course Description:
This course juxtaposes two contrary modes of eighteenth-century literary culture. On one hand, we will read a number of well-known sentimental novels, including Richardson’s Pamela; Sarah Fielding’s David Simple and Sterne’s Sentimental Journey. We will read Sarah Scott’s sentimental-utopian Millenium Hall and Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling, with its iconic sequence of weepy encounters. And we will explore a range of non-novelistic sentimental texts. On the other hand, however, we will explore a set of eighteenth-century comic texts and the everyday humour that they reflect—a coarse, cruel, and often misogynistic humour that is completely unfamiliar to modern readers. Many of these texts directly parody the rising tide of sentimentalism, making fun of the very idea of tender feelings. In Fielding’s Shamela, we will read a well-known travesty of Richardsonian sentimentality, but we will also consider a range of lesser-known texts: short travestic tales that exaggerate sentimental conventions to the point of absurdity; mock-epistolary correspondences between rustic idiots; and mock-sentimental elegies for senile old women or dead insects. Such texts foreground, in the most unmistakeable way, the sheer risibility of sentimentalism to so many of those who witnessed its emergence. Indeed, we will find, even the most prominent sentimental novelists felt compelled to offer an ironic critique of the vogue, even as they were practicing it. One major theme of the course will be the promise of the archive—of all the minor, ephemeral publications of the age--to dispute literary-historical commonplaces and to produce new readings of major texts.

1. Available from the Bob Miller Bookroom, 180 Bloor St W:
Jan. 2, 2012 Note: Dear Class, I'm terribly sorry for any confusion this may cause, but the semester is now shorter than when I first taught ENG3337HS. As a result we will not be reading Mckenzie's Man of Feeling. One other clarification: the course reader, while still produced by the Canadian Scholars Press, is now sold at the UofT book store. Looking forward to meeting you all in the new year-- with best regards, Simon Dickie.
Richardson, Pamela (Oxford, ed. Keymer & Wakely)
Sarah Scott, Millenium Hall (Broadview, ed. Gary Kelly)

Mackenzie, Man of Feeling (Broadview, ed. Harkin)
Sterne, Sentimental Journey (Oxford, ed. Parnell & Jack)

2. Further readings are compiled as a course reader (CR), available from Canadian Scholar’s Press, The University of Toronto Bookstore.

Seminar presentation and related documents, including handouts and annotated bibliography or literature review (40%), essay abstract (ungraded but mandatory), final paper (3000-3500 words, 40%), active and informed participation in discussion (20%).

Date & Time: Friday, 11am - 1pm
Room: JHB 614, Jackman Humanities Building

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