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18th Century Literature: Secret Histories cancelled

ENGL 041.001

This course will explore the preoccupation of eighteenth-century literary culture with secrecy. Many eighteenth-century writers claimed to offer their readers glimpses of hidden spheres: private and domestic; obscure and distant; personal, mental and psychological.   Some writers took refuge in secrecy, submerging themselves and their subjects in anonymity and pseudonymity for protection; still others cloaked plausible fiction in the guise of secrecy, infusing their  works with the allure of hidden truth. Readings will include works in a range of forms by Aphra Behn, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Charlotte Smith, William Cowper and William Godwin. Coursework will include informal responses, two papers, a presentation and a final exam.

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