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Topics in Eighteenth Century Literature

ENGL 241.301
instructor(s):
MW 3-4:30

This course will focus not only on Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, and the circle of writers usually associated with them, including Frances Burney and Hester Thrale Piozzi, but also on the literary culture of the period from the 1740s to the 1790s. Hence we will also read Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield" and Edmund Burke's political writings, plays by Sheridan and Goldsmith. In the anti-circle of people who are not hospitable to Johnson, I want to study John Wilke's pornographic "Essay on Woman," the Scottish traditions associated with the Ossianic writings and with Robert Burns, the poetry of William Cowper and George Crabbe, the early songs of William Blake, and the verse of Ann Yearsley and Anna Letitia Barbauld. Written work will include perhaps as many as two short essays and one longer paper.