ENGLISH 451 - Studies in Literature, 1600-1830
Winter 2018, Section 001 - Satire of the Age of Enlightenment
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (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:


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. The court satires of the Restoration era — whether celebrating sexual excess or deploring perversity — highlight residual conflicts from civil-war times. Later satirists, reaching a broader public, emphasize not courtly high-jinks but broader cultural maladies from prostituted writing to reification to imperial exploitation. Arguably mightier than the sword, the witty and lethal pens of satirists shaped and sharpened public opinion. Seldom has a single literary genre enjoyed such cultural influence 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 to understand the extent to which the cultural transition to modernity depended on the making of a critical public. Though many authors regarded this emerging public with ambivalence, as a clueless and fickle mob, the force of satire finally depended on a new force in British political history: the judgment of a critical public.

Required Texts:

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1C: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, 9th ed. (Greenblatt, et al.)
  • William Wycherly, The Country Wife (Norton New Mermaids)
  • John Dryden, Marriage A-la Mode (New Mermaids)
  • Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels and Other Writings (Norton)
  • John Wilmot, Lord Rochester, Selected Poems (Penguin)
  • William Hogarth, Engravings by William Hogarth (Dover)
  • John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (New Mermaids)

Intended Audience:

Although the class is aimed at advanced English majors, there are no prerequisites. Anyone who enjoys satire is welcome.

Class Format:

The teaching method, while lecture-based, will mingle lectures and discussion.


ENGLISH 451 - Studies in Literature, 1600-1830
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
1/3/18 - 4/17/18

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