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Appetites & the 18th Century Novel

ENGL 045.601
instructor(s):
M 4:30-7:10

This course will explore one of the major obsessions of the eighteenth-century novel - its interest in the "appetites," i.e. the desire for food, money, sex and power. Combining our study of novels with short readings from contemporary writers, we will place this obsession with appetite in historical context. How does it relate to an evolving notion of individualism? to the expansion of commercial markets in the eighteenth century? to the increasing importance of the middle-classes in Britain's social and political life? What is the novel's function vis a vis appetite? to encourage it? to subdue it? We will read works by Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Frances Burney, Lawrence Sterne, and Horace Walpole. We will also read excerpts from the writings of John Locke, Bernard Mandeville, David Hume and Adam Smith. Requirements include two papers and a final exam. This course fills the pre-1800 requirement for English majors and may be combined with a course in the Victorian novel to replace English 60.