English 246E: Restoration and Early 18th Century

Instructor: Professor James Grantham Turner

An exploration of the satire, devotional autobiography, prose fiction, letter-writing, diaries, heroic verse, drama, pornography and feminist polemic produced in England between the Restoration of Charles II (1660) and circa 1735; these will include Behn’s Oroonoko, the world best-seller Robinson Crusoe, the earlier works of Pope (Rape of the Lock), selected letters of Mary Wortley Montagu describing her life in Turkey, and major writings by Swift (Tale of a Tub, Modest Proposal, Gulliver’s Travels). Canonical figures like Milton, Congreve, Pope and Swift will be juxtaposed to scandalous and/or marginal authors: Bunyan, Behn, Rochester, Mary Astell and Eliza Haywood. My selections emphasize the aftermath of Civil War and Puritanism in defeat, the representation of transgressive sexuality, the search for the heroic, the encounter with the alien, the resistance to “modernity,” and the change in the idea of the author as women enter the literary marketplace; many of our texts combine all of these themes. My suggestions for further reading may help you find alternative themes and ways of focusing on this mercurial period.

  • Elective Requirement: This course fulfills the elective requirement for the DE in REMS.