Survey of British Literature II: Restoration to Romanticism
English 222
MWF 12:00-12:50, Jones 303, Fall 2000

Professor: Dan White
Office: Wyatt 341, x. 3428
Office Hours: Tuesday 3:00-4:30, Friday 1:00-2:30, or by appointment
Home Phone: (206) 328-5548 (Discretion is advised)

Course Focus: This course provides a survey of British literature during what has come to be known as "the long eighteenth century." Beginning with the Restoration of Charles II to the throne of England in 1660 and ending with the ascension of Queen Victoria in 1837, this period witnessed the beginnings of Enlightenment consciousness, the rapid expansion of the British Empire, and the revolutions that gave birth to our modern political order. In the context of scientific progress, the ethical imperatives of empire, and revolutionary upheaval, writers of the period produced powerful works of literature across a range of genres and styles. Emphasizing the transition from satirical expression to introspective reflection, we will examine selected poetry, drama, and prose from the age in order to understand the historical and cultural development from "neoclassicism" to "romanticism."

Requirements: Three papers (5-7, 5-7, 8-10 pp.); Oral presentation; Final examination; Attendance. All papers must be computer-printed in Times New Roman 12, titled, double-spaced, paginated, stapled, and submitted in a folder. This folder must include the following: all previously graded papers, the "Papers: Expectations, Guidelines, Advice, and Grading" handout, any other materials I have given you as a class or individually regarding your writing, and a disk version of your paper saved either in Word or as text (see "Papers on the Web"). If the folder does not contain all of these, I will return it to you and mark down the paper one part of a grade for each day the folder is late.

Grading: Your grade will be a combination of the three papers (60%), oral presentation (20%), and final examination (20%). If you have difficulty engaging in public discussion, please see me.

Texts: The following texts, available at the Campus Book Store, are required for this course:

On this syllabus, page numbers are given parenthetically, and the sources are labelled "L" (Longman), "M" (Mellor and Matlak), or "C" (Coursepack).

Section I. Neoclassicism and the Satiric Vein


August 28

Introduction; Literary periods and genres; John Taylor, the "Charge" with which Taylor, tutor in Divinity at the Warrington Academy, prefaced his lectures (C)

August 30

Reading poetry, writing papers; Exercise on Shakespeare's "Sonnet 146"

September 1

Historical Background I


September 4

No class (Labor Day)

September 6

Sir Isaac Newton, from Letter to Richard Bentley (L 2626-30), from "A Letter of Mr. Isaac Newton ... containing his New Theory about Light and Colors" (C); John Locke, from An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (L 2630-35)
2 pp. paper due

September 8

Lesson on meter: Paul Fussell, from Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (handout), and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Metrical Feet. Lesson for a Boy" (handout); John Denham, "Cooper's Hill" (L 2859-67)


September 11

John Dryden, Mac Flecknoe (L 2103-108)
Oral Presentation: Dryden and Satire

September 13

Dryden, "Alexander's Feast" (L 2114-19) with in-class selections from Handel's setting

September 15

No class


September 18

Alexander Pope, "Windsor Forest" (L 2478-89); Bernard Mandeville, "The Grumbling Hive" (C)

September 20

Pope, from "An Essay on Man" (L 2526-35); Anne Finch, "A Nocturnal Reverie" (L 2668-69)

September 22

Pope, from "The Dunciad: Book the Fourth" (L 2546-57)


September 25

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels I and II, Letter to Pope (L 2447-48)
Oral Presentation: Gulliver's Travels and Tory Satire

September 27

Swift, Gulliver's Travels III

September 29

Swift, Gulliver's Travels IV, "Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift" (L 2374-86)


October 2

John Gay, The Beggar's Opera (L 2571-616); Samuel Pepys, from The Diary (L 2008-18); Video, The Beggar's Opera, Act III

October 4

Gay, The Beggar's Opera (L 2571-616)
Oral Presentation: The London Underbelly
Topic and provisional thesis for Paper #1 due

October 6

Gay, The Beggar's Opera (L 2571-616); William Hogarth, "Gin Lane" (handout)

Section II. "By lonely contemplation led": Surface and Depth in "The Age of Johnson"


October 9

Samuel Johnson, "The Vanity of Human Wishes" (L 2689-700); from A Dictionary of the English Language (L 2730-44)
Paper #1 due (5-7 pp.)

October 11

James Boswell, from The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (L 2813-28)

October 13

Johnson, from Rasselas (L 2744-51); Rambler 158 (C); from The Plays of William Shakespeare (L 2754-57)


October 16

No class (Fall Break)

October 18

Richard Sheridan, The School for Scandal; Video, The School for Scandal, Acts IV and V

October 20

Sheridan, The School for Scandal
Oral Presentation: The London Stage


October 23

Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (L 2685-88), "Sonnet on the Death of Mr. Richard West" (C); Johnson, from Lives of the Poets, Gray (C)

October 25

Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (continued)

October 27

Gray, "An Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" (L 2682-84); William Collins, "Ode to Evening" (L 2671-73)
Oral Presentation: Melancholy and Graveyard Poetry, from Sentiment to Sensibility

Section III. Early Romantic Conversations in the Age of Sensibility


October 30

Anna Barbauld, "Ode to Spring" (C), "A Summer Evening's Meditation" (M 168- 69), "Washing Day" (M 187-89)

November 1

William Cowper, from The Task (C), "The Negro's Complaint" (C); from review of Cowper in the Monthly Review (C)
Topic and provisional thesis for Paper #2 due

November 3

Charlotte Smith, from Elegiac Sonnets (C), The Emigrants (M 231-44); from review of Smith in the Critical Review (C); Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Introduction to "Sonnets" in Poems (1797) (C)
Oral Presentation: Charlotte Smith, the Sonnet, and Early Romanticism


November 6

William Blake, from Songs of Innocence and Experience (selections TBA)
Paper #2 due (5-7 pp.)

November 8

Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (M 287-94)

November 10

William Wordsworth, from "Preface" to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballads (M 573-81); Coleridge, from Biographia Literaria, Chapter 13 (M 749-50)


November 13

Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey" (M 571-73), "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" (M 603-605)

November 15

Coleridge, "Reflections on Having Left a Place of Retirement" (M 693-94), "The Eolian Harp" (M 760)
Oral Presentation: The Radical Coleridge, 1794-98

November 17

Coleridge, Letter to Humphry Davy (C), "Frost at Midnight" (C)

Section IV: Romantic Dialectics: "Poetry and Reality"


November 20

Coleridge, "Kubla Khan" (M 729-30), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (M 734-43)

November 22

John Keats, "La Belle Dame sans Merci" (M 1313-14), "Eve of St. Agnes" (M 1279-84), Letter on "Negative Capability" (M 1262-63)
Oral Presentation: Keats, Dames, and Poesy

November 24

No class (Thanksgiving Break)


November 27

Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale" (M 1296-97), "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (M 1297-98); Jane Taylor, "Poetry and Reality" (C)

November 29

George Gordon, Lord Byron, "Prometheus" (M 920-21), Manfred (M 927-46)
Oral Presentation: Byron and Byronism

December 1

Byron, Manfred (M 927-46); Video, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, from Don Giovanni


December 4

Percy Bysshe Shelley, "A Defence of Poetry" (M 1167-78), "Mont Blanc" (M 1063-64)

December 6

Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind" (M 1101-1102)
Topic and provisional thesis for Paper #3 due

December 12, 8:00-10:00: Final examination; Paper #3 due (8-10 pp.)

Daniel E. White