This course examines the literature of a nascent British empire through its drama, poetry, essays, newspaper fiction, and novels. The eighteenth century was a period of expansion, made manifest in the wealth of the adventure literature that spawned Crusoe and Gulliver. The eighteenth century also saw sustained experiments in narrative form -- not only through the novel but also through dramatic, journalistic, religious, and scientific writing. One of our primary aims will be to study these innovations as they relate to travel, trade, and empire. Readings will include: Dryden, Behn, Pope, Johnson, Montagu, Swift, Defoe, Lillo, Equiano, Sterne. Assignments will include a number of essays and a final.