Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG306Y1Y L5101

ENG306Y1Y     L5101      M6-9
Poetry and Prose, 1660-1800
Instructor: M. Vanek
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA

Brief Description of Course: The years between 1660 and 1800 marked a period of unprecedented change in the lives of English readers. The Restoration had transformed the relationship between the monarch, Parliament, and the people of England. London witnessed a massive population increase, and with it an explosion of new commerce, print culture, and class conflict. British explorers circled the globe, forging a new national self-image through colonial domination and the expansion of trade – and together, the microscope, telescope, and rise of empiricism opened new worlds, big and small, to individual investigation.

This course will explore the methods that the writers of the Restoration and eighteenth century developed to describe this changing world and define their place within it. Beginning with texts that test (or mock) the limits of inherited literary forms, we’ll compare comic, allegorical, and satirical treatments of the new political and economic order of urban life; we’ll track changing theories of ‘character’ as they are used to define the new public sphere and private self; and we’ll explore how these forces together helped to fuel the rise of the novel. At mid-term, we’ll dive deeper into eighteenth-century debates about the new forms this new world needed – first through arguments in verse, then through the epistolary novel (and its parodies), and then through the collision of sentiment, satire, and philosophy in prose experiments like The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. By the end of this course, you will be able to recognize and articulate the major aesthetic and political movements in eighteenth-century literature, and you will have developed the critical skills and vocabulary you will need to debate how these Enlightenment forms and terms of inquiry continue to structure our world today.

Required Reading:
 • The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume C – The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (9th ed.)
• Defoe, Moll Flanders, (ed. Starr, Oxford World’s Classics)
• Richardson, Pamela (ed. Keymer and Wakely, Oxford World’s Classics)
• Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela (ed. Keymer, Oxford World’s Classics)
• Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (ed. New, Penguin Classics)
• Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (ed. Sollors, Norton)

These texts will be available at the U of T Bookstore (214 College St.); any supplementary readings will be posted on Blackboard. All readings will also be available on course reserve at Robarts library; the loan period for each reserve text is two days.

First Three Authors/Texts: Behn, “The Disappointment”; Steele, The Spectator II [Inkle and Yarico]; Behn, Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave.

Method of Evaluation: Close reading (500 words) (10%); essay #1 (1000-1250 words) (15%); critical Review worksheet (5%); final essay (1500-2000 words) (25%); weekly blog posts (10%); group presentation & facilitation (5%); reverse skeleton worksheet and peer review workshops (5%); in-class participation (10%); final exam (15%).

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