ENGLISH 451 - Studies in Literature, 1600-1830
Winter 2023, Section 001 - Satires of the Age of the British Enlightenment
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course will provide an opportunity to study some of the most brilliant, biting, and influential English satires of the Restoration and eighteenth century. The chosen texts convey a broader narrative about the transition from heroic to urbane values in many spheres of social life in Britain. Arguably mightier than the sword, the witty and lethal pens of satirists shaped, sharpened, and focused public opinion. Seldom has a single literary genre enjoyed such a large cultural impact as did satire in the later seventeenth and earlier eighteenth centuries.

As we examine some leading subgenres of the age of satire, from mock-heroic poetry to visual satire, we will seek answers to such questions as the following:

  • Why should the theme of sex be funny?  Why can’t satirists do without it?
  • What are the ethics of satire? Is it acceptable for a satirist to target recognizable individuals? Is satire primarily a literature of aggression?
  • Where does the satirist get his or her own authority? Stylistic?
  • What accounts for the dominance of satire in this era?

Our underlying theme will be to understand the mechanisms of satire as a literary and political form. Required texts will include works by Wycherly, Etherege, Behn, Dryden, Swift, and others.

This course satisfies the following English major/minor requirements: Pre-1830


ENGLISH 451 - Studies in Literature, 1600-1830
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

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