ENGLISH 398 - Junior Seminar in English Studies
Fall 2020, Section 003 - Women Writers of the Englightenment
Instruction Mode: Section 003 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


This course has been designed to introduce students to such women writers of the Enlightenment in Britain and Ireland as Aphra Behn, Mary Astell, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Charlotte Lennox, Francis Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen. These authors range from elite to working-class and from Tory to Whig to radical in their broader political affiliations. The course is designed to enable students to read these authors in the most appropriate and compelling literary, critical, and historical contexts, which reach from the Restoration of Charles II to just past the French Revolution. We will see, for example, how and why a certain “Tory feminism” could combine loyalty to elite class politics with a rebellion against male dominance.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, women were the numerical majority among novelists in Britain and Ireland; and by the latter part of the century, such authors as Burney and Edgeworth were writing novels of the highest quality. If the novel proved especially accommodating to women authors, however, others genres – poetry, plays, satire, travelogues, utopias, polemics – were likewise adaptable to their goals and circumstances. We will seek to understand how each of these authors negotiates with the traditional social scripts and conventional plots that came down to them by way of social and sexual inequality.

Required texts for the course are likely to be drawn from this list: Aphra Behn, Oronooko and The Rover; Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies and Some Reflections upon Marriage; Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters; Francis Burney, Evelina; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; and Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent.

Course Requirements:

Required writing will include one short paper (about 5 pages) and one research paper (about 15 pages).

Intended Audience:

Online-only students are welcome!

Class Format:

Exams: N/A

Lectures: Synchronous and Online

Class Discussions: Synchronous and Online


ENGLISH 398 - Junior Seminar in English Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM

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