Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Eighteenth-Century Prose 2: Further Studies

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit explores the historical, cultural, and literary backgrounds to the rise and expansion of prose in the eighteenth century. The emergence of modern political institutions in Britain, conflicts and debates in religious matters, the nation's growing prosperity, the increasing numbers of readers and the deepening interest in the individual all inform the genre that grew and spread so widely in the eighteenth century and beyond. Students will study some of the foremost novels from this period to explore the treatment of important themes and the narrative methods adopted by the authors.

The following novels will be discussed in detail:
Samuel Richardson's Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (1748)
Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-1767)
Aphra Behn Oroonoko (1688)

Further recommended reading might include: Defoe’s Moll Flanders; Fielding’s Joseph Andrews; Tobias Smollett’s Peregrine Pickle.

Norton Critical Editions of these primary texts are recommended.

Study-unit Aims:

• to present three English novels of the eighteenth century that are highly important to the development of the genre;
• to teach the most important thematic concerns of Richardson, Sterne, and Burney in relation to the political, social and religious concerns of the period;
• to demonstrate convergences and divergences between the set texts;
• to examine the narrative techniques used by the three writers and to connect these with the development of the novel in eighteenth century and beyond;
• to extend the knowledge of more advanced critical terms required for the literary analysis of the novel.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Achieve in-depth knowledge of a range of texts from the eighteenth century;
• Have a sound knowledge of Clarissa, Tristram Shandy, Evelina;
• Acquire critically informed knowledge of the literary treatment of political, social and religious concerns of the time;
• Identify the influences between the texts studied, or how they converge or diverge in their literary construction of the eighteenth century in Britain.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Discern the relationship between selected novels and a particular period of history;
• Comment on artistic endeavour in eighteenth century society;
• Recognise and comment on literary techniques used by writers in the developing the genre of the novel.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

• Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady (Broadview Editions) by Samuel Richardson, John Richetti and Toni Bowers (Abridged edition 2010)
• Tristram Shandy edited by Howard Anderson (Norton Critical Editions) (1980)
• Oroonoko, edited by Joanna Lipking (Norton Critical Editions) (1997)
• John Richetti,The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth Century Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
• John Richetti, The English Novel in History 1700-1780 (London: Routledge, 1999)
• Albert J. Rivero, ed. (New essays on Samuel Richardson (1996)
• Jocelyn Harris, Samuel Richardson (Cambridge University Press: 1987)
• Thomas Keymer Richardson’s Clarissa and the eighteenth-century reader.(Cambridge U.P: 1992)
• Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor eds., Samuel Richardson: Tercentenary Essays (Cambridge University Press; Reissue edition: 2011)
• Ruth Whittaker, Tristram Shandy (Open Guides to Literature: 1988)
• Ian Campbell Ross, Laurence Sterne: A Life ( Oxford UP, 2001)
• Thomas Keymer ed. Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism) (OUP:2006)
• Thomas Keymer ed., The Cambridge Companion to Laurence Sterne (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
• S.J. Wiseman, Aphra Behn, (Northcote House Publishers: 2007)
• Derek Hughes& Janet Todd, The Cambridge Companion to Aphra Behn (Cambridge Companions to Literature) (Cambridge: 2004)
• Janet Todd, Aphra Behn Contemporary Critical Essays (New Casebooks) (Palgrave Macmillan: 1999)


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Stella Borg Barthet

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.