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ENGL476 A Topic in English Literature 1660-1800

The eighteenth century in Britain is a hard period to characterise.  Europe was still living with the aftershocks of the renaissance and reformation, the cultural transformations that ended the very different medieval world, and was on the verge of the industrial revolution, when the world becomes recognisably modern.  Negotiating this boundary in their lives and writings are the two contrasting figures of the English literary titan and powerful representative of the tradition, Samuel Johnson, and his biographer and much younger friend, the proto-romantic Scot, James Boswell.  London is Europe’s greatest metropolis and alive with booksellers and coffee shops, catering for an unprecedented demand for knowledge, literature, and news.  These few volumes and two writers will introduce students to fascinating and important works across a range of genres, published 1735-91, including poetry, criticism, lexicography, biography, travel, fiction, journalism, letters, political writing, periodical essays, and private journals.

Paper title A Topic in English Literature 1660-1800
Paper code ENGL476
Subject English
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Full Year
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,120.06
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,439.89

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Prerequisite
72 points from ENGL 311-368, EURO 302
Contact
paul.tankard@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Paul Tankard
Teaching Arrangements
Weekly 2-hour seminar, until mid-second semester
Assessment: 65% internal, 35% external
Textbooks
  • Boswell, James, The Life of Samuel Johnson, ed. R. W. Chapman (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Boswell, James, London Journal, 1762-1763, ed. Gordon Turnbull (Penguin Classics)
  • Boswell, James, Facts and Inventions, ed. Paul Tankard (Yale U.P.) - extracts supplied
  • Johnson, Samuel, The Major Works, ed. Donald Greene (Oxford)
  • Johnson, Samuel, A Dictionary of the English Language, ed. Jack Lynch
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • To understand in outline the literary history of 18th-century Britain
  • To appreciate the instability of our sense of literary genre
  • To effectively research in online 18th-century newspapers
  • To select and prepare a number of ephemeral texts for a contemporary readership and practise annotative skill
  • To read and critically appreciate a variety of complex texts by major writers
  • To write coherently and critically about literature

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Timetable

Full Year

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 9-16, 18-22
AND
M1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 41

Voices in Print: Books and Readers, 1660-1800

During the 140 years following the restoration of Charles II, Britain first became a reading nation. Literacy rates rose rapidly as print insinuated itself into most parts of people’s lives and everyday life became a life of print culture. This paper surveys poetry, fiction and plays that explore what reading meant, how authors tried to control meaning, and how professional authorship became a legitimate, albeit poorly paid, career. All of these developments are most visible in relation to the ways that authors tell stories, but are frequently most evident when authors write about women or try to give women their own voices. The paper does not propose a feminist approach to the eighteenth century, but rather a narratological approach that finds texts by and about women most revealing of the challenges involved in telling stories in print. The rise of the novel was neither straightforward nor unproblematic, but readers were clearly captivated by the new voices and perspectives that print made possible.

The full reading list is given below. Because so much of a book’s meaning is connected to its physical features, the class will meet in Special Collections in the Central Library and students will be expected to develop a research project in relation to a rare book in Otago’s collection.

Paper title A Topic in English Literature 1660-1800
Paper code ENGL476
Subject English
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Full Year
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2020 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Prerequisite
72 points from ENGL 311-368, EURO 302
Eligibility

A student will usually have completed a BA in English prior to enrolling in ENGL 476

Contact

shef.rogers@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Associate Professor Shef Rogers

Paper Structure

Weekly two-hour seminars, with individual meetings with students as needed.  As a seminar, the paper builds continuously on previous material and is not separable into units.  Students are expected to attend all sessions.  Assessments will include a 15-min presentation on a rare book the student is researching (30%), a 3000-word research essay (50%), and a one-hour in-class test analysing an unseen passage in terms of the topics studied in the paper (20%)

Teaching Arrangements

Special Collections is open 9-5 Mon-Fri, so students should anticipate at least a reasonable amount of their research to be conducted during those hours in order to have access to the materials required.

Textbooks

No texts to purchase; all will be available through Blackboard as PDFs. Students may choose to print them if they wish at their own cost. The readings will include:

  • John Dryden, Translation, “Dido to Aeneas” from Ovid’s Epistles(1680) plus book 4 of Virgil’s Aeneis(1697); Sir Martin Mar-All (1668)
  • William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675)
  • Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism(1711)
  • Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders(1722)
  • Jonathan Swift, “Advice to the Grub Street Verse-writers” (1726), A Modest Proposal (1729), "On Poetry: A Rhapsody" (1733)
  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela(1740)
  • Henry Fielding, Shamela(1741)
  • Samuel Johnson, selected periodical essays (1750s)
  • Frances Burney, Evelina(1778)
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion(1817)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Understand the evolution of narrative techniques across a variety of genres
  • Develop experience with rare books and the meanings of physical qualities of texts as well as textual meanings
  • Enhance and demonstrate advanced research skills
  • Gain appreciation of the history of English literature in a key period of transition
  • Reflect on aspects of gender in narrative techniques and how these relate to social attitudes toward gender differences over time

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Timetable

Full Year

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
L1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 9-15, 17-22
AND
M1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 41