English 3017.03

English Poetry & Prose: 1660-1740

Fall Term 2007                                                                                               TR: 14:35- 16:00

David McNeil (dmcneil@dal.ca)
FASS Building, 6135 University, 3193 (494-3508)

Office Hours: TBA

From the heroic couplet of Dryden to the feminist tracts of Astell, this class explores the diverse poetry and prose of the period 1660 to 1740. A variety of theoretical approaches are considered (e.g., interdisciplinarity, genre/gender categories, performance theory) with a view to challenging generalizations about the so-called "Age of Reason," which saw almost constant warfare between European nations, cheering mobs at public executions in London, the first great stock market crash, and visitors paying a penny to tease the incarcerated in Bedlam.

We examine journals, letters, and essays, along with the more traditional poetic and prose forms. Students have ample opportunity to study examples of biting satire, neo- classical structure and touching sensibility. Dichotomies abound: social decorum versus bawdy exuberance, the public versus the private, symmetrical artifice versus natural spontaneity. Other subjects covered in this class are the rise of the woman writer, the popular press and the bourgeois reader. We also tract relevant developments in aesthetic, philosophical and political thought, as well as parallel movements in the visual arts, music and architecture.

The class utilizes BLS (formerly WebCt) to access electronic resources, facilitate class presentations and exchange information. Evaluation will be based on a mid-term, term paper, various exercises (including presentations) and a final exam. All written work will have to be submitted to TurnITIN.com. Students with permanent or temporary disabilities who would like to discuss classroom or exam accommodation are asked to see the instructor as soon as possible.


British Literature: 1640-1789. 2nd Ed. Ed. Robert DeMaria. Blackwell.

Other texts may be added or downloaded as the need arises.