This course will undertake to chart literary history by grouping women and men poets who are contemporary with each other and whose comparison will afford us a prism by which to focus on major issues in and types of Enlightenment, Romantic, and early Victorian poetry, as well as to shed light on changing assumptions about gender within British culture. We will deal first with Anne Finch, Countess of Winchelsea and Lady Mary Chudleigh, along with Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. In the mid-eighteenth century we will concentrate on Thomas Gray and William Collins, Elizabeth Carter and Anna Laetitia Barbauld. In the early Romantic period Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson will join William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge; in the second phase Jane Taylor and Felicia Hemans will be read along with John Keats and Lord Byron. The course will conclude by juxtaposing Victorian poets--a married couple, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, and a sister and brother, Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.