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Generic Change in 18th Century Literature

ENGL 540.301
W 9-12
ANNS 318


 In practice, literary genres are never static but dynamic, adapting themselves to shifts in audience expectations and responsive to changing historical conditions. In this course, we will test that proposition by reading a number of eighteenth-century texts that constitute opposing pairs, attempting to gauge what lies behind generic shifts and even transformations and innovations. Here are some of the pairs of works or groups of works we will consider: Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Swift's Gulliver's Travels; Pope's Moral Essays and Swift's satirical verse; Haywood's Fantomina and The British Recluse and Richards's Pamela and Fielding's Joseph Andrews; Thomson's Seasons ("Spring" and "Winter") and Cowper's The Task ("The Garden" and "The Winter Evening"); Dryden's Essays (selections) and Johnson's Preface to Shakespeare and Lives of the Poets (selections), and Johnson's Life of Savage and Boswell's Life of Johnson.

One in-class presentation and two papers, one short (5-7 pages) and one longer (10-15 pages) will be required.

Fulfills 2 & 5 requirements.

fulfills requirements