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ENGLISH 3EC3 18th C. Lit&Cultr:Enlght&Shdws (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Walmsley


Office: Chester New Hall 323

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23728

Office Hours: Mondays 2-3:40 PM or by appointment

Course Objectives:


This course engages with British literary production from the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the beginning of the nineteenth century, a period that saw the emergence of many cultural practices and discourses that we would now recognize as modern. It was a time of rapidly expanding and highly competitive trade, which gave rise to a global consciousness, while economic speculation and a growing mercantile class fuelled a new consumer culture.  The transatlantic slave trade and the plantation economy intensified in this period, contested by a vigorous abolition movement and a nascent discourse of universal human rights. Gender roles were rewritten over the century, as civility, sensibility, and domesticity became valued for men and women alike, while new forms like the novel and the diary facilitated the exploration of interior and affective life. And this period was marked by shifting attitudes to the natural world, as scientific “objectivity” and extractive agriculture started to overwrite local and traditional environmental practices.

We will chart how these developments were variously embraced, negotiated, and resisted by authors speaking from a variety of social positions and in a wide range of literary forms, including poems, periodical essays, and novels. We will also encounter some of the distinctive genres of the period: a story told through engravings (the first comic book?), a ballad opera, and a slave narrative. Through a Bibliophilia exercise, you will become familiar with McMaster’s outstanding collection of Enlightenment books and periodicals. Self-conscious play with genre is a hallmark of eighteenth-century literature, and we will attend to the tensions between tradition and innovation in literary form. As a reflection of the increasing participation of women in literary culture over the century, writings by and about women will form a substantial part of the readings, encouraging an interrogation of the role of gender in these emerging discourses.


This course aims to:

  • familiarize you with writing in English between 1660 and 1803, with particular attention to how authors participate in cultural transformation and how they invent new literary kinds and rework inherited forms
  • develop your skills at close textual analysis, encouraging you to read slowly, for detail and nuance
  • introduce you to key concepts in the fields of eighteenth-century literary history and early modern cultural studies, and to equip you to bring important terms and intellectual frameworks into conversation with cultural texts
  • foster active engagement with course materials and develop collaborative work practices and communication skills through group work in class
  • provide the opportunity to develop archival skills through working with original eighteenth-century books
  • enhance your skills at sourcing and critiquing the work of other scholars, and
  • encourage you to continue to improve your writing skills, by offering guidance in the art of writing clear, well-argued, and well-supported analyses and arguments.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:



  • The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: Volume 3: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
  • Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Ed. Claire Grogan (Broadview)
  • Other primary materials are available either through Avenue or web links.

Essential Online Resources:

  • Guides to the mechanics of essay presentation and documentation:

MLA Format, Purdue Online Writing Lab

First-Year English and Cultural Studies Handbook

  • A dictionary that traces the shifting history of words: the Oxford Dictionary is available to you through Mills Library.

Method of Assessment:


Reading/Reflection Papers: (select 3 of 8 opportunities over the semester; see weekly schedule for dates). Each paper will include a 1-page text annotation plus a 300-word reflection on the significance of the passage. 3 papers @ 5% each. Upload to A2L by 11:59 pm on the date indicated (i.e. the day before we discuss that text in class). You must complete at least 2 of these 3 short papers by October 22. At the end of the term your best paper will be reweighted to make it worth 10%                      20%

Contributions to Class Lecture Notes Archive (2 uploads to A2L x 2.5% each, pass/fail). Must be uploaded within 24 hours after the lecture. Visit A2L to sign up for two dates and to see notetaking tips.  5%

Bibliophilia Project: adopt an original 18th-century book (2 PowerPoint Slides and a 500-word report): upload to A2L by 11:59 pm on Nov. 4.                                                                                           15%

Research Essay (1500 words: paper copy due in lecture Dec. 2)            30%

Exam (2 hours; Scheduled by the Office of the Registrar)                        30%


NB:  Full details of these assignments will be posted on Avenue.

Note that, since there are many opportunities for submitting the short assignments (Reading/Reflection Papers and Lecture Note uploads) over the term, late short assignments will not be accepted, and no short assignments will be accepted after Wed. December 4th. Exceptions may be made for students with SAS accommodations.

Longer assignments (the Bibliophilia Project and the Research Essay) submitted late will be reduced one grade per day late up to 7 days. For example, a B+ paper handed in two days late would be lowered to a B-. Saturday and Sunday are included in the calculation of days late. Students are expected to retain copies of all work submitted for the course.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Schedule of Readings and Assignments


NB:  Most readings are found in the print Broadview Anthology: Volume 3, but some must be accessed through the supplementary Broadview Anthology of British Literature Online at A few readings are available on the web or will be posted on Avenue. 


Week 1:     Sept. 4: Introductory


Week 2:     Global Imaginings

Sept. 9: Genesis 1-3 (Avenue); Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass,

Preface and “Skywoman Falling” Chapter 1 (Avenue); Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (201-37) (try to have the first 10-15 pages read)

Sept. 10: First Reading/Reflection opportunity on Behn’s Oroonoko via A2L

Sept. 11: Behn, Oroonoko, cont’d


Week 3:     Science and Empire

Sept. 16: John Locke, An Essay Concerning Understanding, Book 2, from“Of

            Ideas,” Chapter 1 (159-60); Robert Hooke, from Micrographia

            (161-67); Jonathan Swift, Travels, Part 2, “A Voyage to Brobdingnag”

            (420-52) (try to have the first 15-20 pages read)

Sept. 17: Second Reading/Reflection opportunity on Swift’s Travels via A2L

Sept. 18: Swift, Travels, Book 2, cont’d


Week 4:     Pastoral, Georgic, Rural Labour

Sept. 23: Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (807-9)

Sept. 24: Third Reading/Reflection opportunity on Duck’s “Thresher’s Labour”

            via A2L

Sept. 25: John Gay, from the Shepherd’s Week, “Monday” (933-35); Stephen

            Duck, “The Thresher’s Labour” (891-94); Mary Collier, “The Woman’s

            Labour” (895-97); Mary Leapor, “Crumble Hall” (900-2)


Week 5:     Landscape and Nature

Sept. 30:  Joseph Addison, Spectator 414 (538); Anne Finch, Countess of

Winchelsea, “A Nocturnal Reverie” (348) and “The Petition for an Absolute Retreat,” online at or

Oct. 2: Workshop on Eighteenth-Century Books, Connections Room, Mills

      Library: required preparation for the Bibliophilia Project


Week 6:     The City

Oct. 7:  Swift, “A Description of a City Shower” (376-77); Tobias Smollett, from

            Humphry Clinker, Matthew Bramble’s letter of May 20, “London is

            literally new to me . . .” (Avenue)

Oct. 8: Fourth Reading/Reflection opportunity on Hogarth’s Industry and

            Idleness via A2L

Oct. 9:  William Hogarth, Industry and Idleness, online at or


Reading Week: Oct. 14-18 No Classes


Week 7:     The Theatre, Criminality

Oct. 21: Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (BABL online); partial viewing of BBC TV

            1983 production (BBC TV; Jonathan Miller dir.)

Oct. 22: Fifth Reading/Reflection opportunity on Gay’s Opera via A2L

Oct. 23: Gay, Beggar’s Opera, cont’d


Week 8:     Love and Sexuality

Oct. 28: John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, “The Imperfect Enjoyment” (299–300)

            Behn, “The Disappointment” (197-99); Swift, “The Lady’s Dressing

            Room” (379-81); Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “The Reasons that

            Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Called The Lady’s Dressing Room” (603–

            606) and “The Lover: A Ballad” (606-7)

Oct. 29: Sixth Reading/Reflection opportunity on Haywood’s Fantomina via A2L

                  Oct. 30: Eliza Haywood, Fantomina: or, Love in a Maze (632-47)


Week 9:     Birth of Consumer Culture

                  Bibliophilia Project Due Nov. 4 via A2L

Nov. 4: Addison and Richard Steele, Spectators 3, 50, 69, 265, 454, 478 (Avenue)

Nov. 5: Seventh Reading/Reflection opportunity on Pope’s Rape of the Lock via


Nov. 6: Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (555-68)


Week 10:   Slavery, Abolition, and Revolt

Nov. 11:  Steele, Spectator 11 (673); From “The Abolition of Slavery: Contexts”

            (BABL online), selections from John Newton (2-3), Quobna Ottobah

            Cugoano (3-4), and Matthew “Monk” Lewis (18-23)

Nov. 12: Eighth Reading/Reflection opportunity on Equiano’s Narrative via A2L

Nov. 13: Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative, Chapters 1 and 2 (953-69),

            Chapters 5 and 7 (BABL online)


Week 11:   Shopping

Nov. 18: Research Essay Workshop

Nov. 20: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


Week 12:   Sociability and Spectacle

                  Nov. 25: Austen, Northanger Abbey cont’d

Nov. 27: Austen, Northanger Abbey cont’d


Week 13:   Modern Gothic

                  Research Essay Due Dec. 2 in class, paper copy

Dec. 2:  Austen, Northanger Abbey cont’d

Dec. 4: Exam Review; partial viewing of 2007 film of Northanger Abbey (ITV; Jon

            Jones dir.)