Restoration and Early 18th-century British Literature: Love, Marriage, Sex, Infidelity, and Distress--Fall 1996

Course description:

We'll consider poetry, novellas, and plays that represent the politics of gender relations and identities, sexual pleasure, disappointment, and pain within contexts of tremendous social and institutional transformation following the strife of the civil wars and the all too brief euphoria of Charles II's restoration. We shall explore shifting relations among monarchs and subjects, as well as lovers both libertine and dutifully loyal. Texts include works that are fairly well-established in the "canon" as well as more recent editions of plays and novellas previously unavailable (and seldom taught), offering graduate students promising opportunities to become familiar with and perhaps contribute to recent scholarship. The somewhat flexible syllabus begins with Dryden's split plot heroic comedy Marriage a la Mode, the Earl of Rochester's rakish lyrics and laments, Behn's passionate poetry, drama, and fiction, a series of plays by men, often about patriarchal power--both domestic and political--under some duress , and finally Haywood's novellas of women in dire straits. No exams, but succinct newsgroup journal entries, a critical response, a critical summary/review, and a couple of longer essays are required. Can you identify the following quote?

"Why should a foolish marriage vow / Which long ago was made, /Oblige us to each other now / When passion is decayed?"

Required Texts:

John Dryden, Marriage a la Mode (Nebraska, 1981)

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, The Complete Works (Penguin)

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works (Penguin, 1992)

Gamini Salgado, ed., Three Restoration Comedies (Penguin)

Michael Cordner, ed., Four Restoration Marriage Plays (Oxford, 1995)

Eliza Haywood, Three Novellas (Colleagues P, 1995)


1. One critical response (approx. 425 words, single-spaced, titled, on one page) that prompts you to identify and to address interpretive and critical issues that these texts present. You may choose a study question to suggest a topic or problem to explore in your response, or you may develop your own topic or approach to the work in question. Your observations and analyses should be succinct and sharply focused, with potential for substantial further development.

2. One summary and critical review (450 words total). This two-step assignment is similar to the critical response, but includes a concise summary or abstract of a critical essay (approx. 300 words) followed by an analytical/evaluative/explanatory response or review of the essay (approx. 150 words)--try to fit all this onto one page (cut/paste, reduce slightly), then bring copies to class to share on the designated due date.

3. Participation in class and group discussion (including informal writing). Please take advantage of the opportunity small groups may provide to discuss your reactions, share your insights and research, and to listen and reply to others' ideas. I shall call regularly upon groups to facilitate class discussion, with each group leading off discussion (10 minutes) on specific texts and critical readings three or four times during the term. On these days I expect the group scheduled for that day to be prepared to lead off our discussion by presenting their positions on the material (with some brief summary, focus on key points in the reading, perhaps some incorporation of secondary criticism or historical research), or you might consider the pedagogical or practical implications of what we're discussing. I hope this strategy will enable you to move the class in directions you find most helpful, give you opportunities to develop critical skills through collaboration, and prevent me from dominating class discussion while still providing occasions for sharing my perspectives with you.

4. Participation via local online discussion newsgroup, with special emphasis upon focused journal entries posted to the newsgroup. I encourage you to contribute a paragraph or more to the conversation once a week, posting your entry to the current week's discussion by 9 a.m. each Wednesday morning. You are expected to post ten succinct yet substantive journal entries (approximately 100-150 words each) on selected figures/works over the course of the semester. I will evaluate and grade five entries by midterm, and evaluate the rest just before the end of the semester.

5. Two double-spaced essays or critical projects: the first, 7-8 pp., the second, 10-12 pp. More on these later, but in general these essays enable you to explore an interpretive/contextual problem, try out a critical approach/hypothesis, and help to express ideas prompted by your reading and discussion of a work from our syllabus. I am interested in seeing the ways that you select, define, and engage questions and contradictions, and I attend to the clarity, imagination, and grace that you demonstrate in presenting your topic, thesis, and argument. I do not always expect an essay to conclude by "solving" such problems or by "proving" your thesis; I do hope that you address an interesting topic in thoughtful and useful ways. If you want to explore and to develop a teaching project, the work might include a brief course description, syllabus, sample assignments, and an extended explanation of one's teaching philosophy and goals. I welcome discussing other possibilities for completing this assignment. Please feel invited to confer with me during the writing process.

6. Due dates: All required work is due at the beginning of class on the due date--work turned in later will be marked late and graded accordingly. All required graded written work will be downgraded one notch (for example, B+ to B, converted to points for each assignment) for each weekday late (not just days classes meet but counting just one day for a weekend). Work more than a week late will not be accepted. I will grant short extensions for medical and family emergencies--but talk with me as soon as possible to request an extension. ALWAYS KEEP EXTRA COPIES OF YOUR WORK.

7. Attendance is required--your in class participation is a crucial part of a collective learning experience. Excellent attendance is rewarded; poor attendance is penalized. If you have no absences by the term's end (excused or not), you will receive five bonus points. With one absence you will receive three extra points. Two to three absences will not affect your semester grade. But four unexcused absences will lower your semester total by fourteen points with seven point reductions for each additional absence (for example, five absences=minus 21 points and so on). Almost all absences will be counted--excused or not--if something extraordinary occurs, talk to me.

8. Grades: Ten Newsgroup journal entries (7 pts each, but I'll assign up to 35 points collectively for the first five, and up to 35 pts. for the last five); One Critical Response (25 points); One Summary/Critical Review (15 points); Essay 1 (125 points); Essay 2 or Critical Project (150 points). These required assignments add up to a maximum of 385 points. Thus 347-385 points equals an A, 308-346 equals a B, 270-307 equals a C, 231-269 equals a D, and anything below 231 merits an F. I shall also reserve a potential five bonus points based on my perceptions of the strength of your participation and efforts over the semester.

9. Office hours. I encourage you to confer with me--especially before assignments are due--to talk about your interests, intentions, and writing strategies. My office is not accessible to the handicapped, so please let me know if you need to meet me elsewhere. If you cannot make my regular hours, we can usually arrange another time. I also welcome communicating with you by e-mail (, or just sflores if you are on any Nest machine, e.g., Raven).

10. Prospectus (approx. 450 words, single-spaced) for Essay 2--ungraded, but potentially useful and important for consulting with me on your final major assignment.



8/27 Dryden, Heroic Stanzas and To His Sacred Majesty (handouts)

8/29 Dryden, Marriage a la Mode; Astraea Redux (handout)


9/03 Marriage a la Mode

9/05 Journal entry due; Marriage a la Mode; Rochester, A Satyr Against Mankind (72); ; "Upon Nothing" (201); "The Maimed Debauchee" (87); "Love and Life" (197)

9/10 Rochester, "The Imperfect Enjoyment" (28); Artemisa to Chloe. A Letter from a Lady in the Town to a Lady in the Country concerning the Loves of the Town (49); A Ramble in St. James Park (31); "To the Postboy" (195)

9/12 Journal entry due; Behn, "The Disappointment" (331); "To the fair Clarinda, who made Love to me, imagined more than Woman" (343); "On Desire: a Pindaric" (344); "The Golden Age" (handout)

9/17 Behn, The Rover

9/19 Journal entry due; The Rover

9/24 The Rover; Behn, Oroonoko

9/26 Journal entry due; Oroonoko


10/01 Critical Response due; Oroonoko; Wycherley, The Country Wife

10/03 Journal entry due; The Country Wife

10/08 The Country Wife; Etherege, The Man of Mode

10/10 Journal entry due; The Man of Mode

10/15 Essay 1 due; The Man of Mode; Otway, The Soldiers' Fortune

10/17 Journal entry due; The Soldiers' Fortune

10/22 The Soldiers' Fortune

10/24 Lee, The Princess of Cleves

10/29 Journal entry due; The Princess of Cleves

10/31 The Princess of Cleves; Congreve, Love for Love


11/05 Journal entry due; Love for Love

11/07 Love for Love

11/12 Dryden, Amphitryon; or The Two Sosias

11/14 Amphitryon

11/19 Prospectus for Final Essay/Project due; Southerne, The Wives' Excuse; or Cuckolds Make Themselves

11/21 The Wives' Excuse

11/26 Haywood, The Distress'd Orphan


12/03 Journal entry due; Haywood, The Double Marriage

12/05 Haywood, The City Jilt

12/10 Peer review workshop

12/12 Essay 2 due; Final oral summaries/review

  • Click here to access the newsgroup for this course (uidaho.class.eng.540.sf). Available only to users on the UI campus, and intended for those enrolled in this class.

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