English Literature in the Eighteenth Century
The eighteenth century was a particularly interesting and exciting period in the history of English literature. This was when the modern world – i.e. our world – began to take shape. This was when many phenomena such as the journalism as we know it and the novel came into being and immediately found a mass readership. Due to special historical, cultural and social conditions, English literature could develop in ways that would have been unthinkable on the continent.
This lecture course covers a wide range of texts and topics such as the rise of the novel (and its various shapes and forms: epistolary, erotic, experimental, Gothic etc.), other prose texts (travel literature, diaries and autobiographies such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s description of her experiences in Turkey, James Boswell’s outrageously honest diaries and the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, an ex-slave), poetry (for instance Alexander Pope’s elegant and polished pieces on topics such as stupid books by stupid people, and poems by female authors addressing the issue of gender roles and the position of women in society) and drama, including musical drama.
English literature is more than Literature produced in England; this is why particular attention will be paid to important authors from Scotland and their texts – you will get acquainted with, for instance, Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns who both highlighted the Scottishness of their texts by using elements of Scots rather than standard English. We shall also consider connections between literature and the visual arts as well as literature and music. This means that there will also be lots to see and quite a bit to hear in this introduction to eighteenth-century English literature.
It would be a very good idea to buy: Christoph Heyl, Kleine Englische Literaturgeschichte. J.B. Metzler. ISBN-13: 978-3476045096. The section on the eighteenth century and Romanticism will give you a comprehensive overview. If you also read about what happened before and after the eighteenth century, you will gain a good grasp of long-term developments in the history of English literature.
All texts to be discussed in this lecture course are available in ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online). You should familiarize yourselves with this digital resource before the beginning of the semester.
Depending on the further development of the pandemic, this lecture course may or may not be taught face to face on campus. Our worst-case scenario is that we will have to continue in online mode. This is not ideal, but the last three semesters have shown that it is doable. In any case teaching will be in real time, so do not double-book this time slot. Please join out moodle
Please join the Moodle room for this lecture course (Vorlesung English Literature in the Eighteenth Century). The password is V_EighteenthCentury_WS21-22 (but you already know this because you are here). You will receive further information via e-Mail. Please make sure to use and check your official university e-mail addresses at all times. Do not use any other addresses, and do not have e-mails sent to your university address forwarded to other addresses. Our experience in the last semester has shown that using non-university addresses / forwarding mails will lead to our messages bouncing back in very many cases.Just in case your application is rejected by the LSF system: If you want to do this course because you are genuinely interested, you will be most welcome, no matter what LSF says. Please get in touch with email@example.com who will enrol you manually. The worst that might happen to you is that you cannot do a Leistungsnachweis if you lack the formal requirements.
- Lehrende(r): Christoph Heyl