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Honors 200: The Curious Eighteenth-Century

Page history last edited by Tonya Howe 10 years, 10 months ago

HON 200: “The Curious Eighteenth Century”
Spring 2011
Wednesdays, 3:00-4:30
Gailhac 2011
Dr. Howe (thowe@marymount.edu)

The Curious Eighteenth Century

Recommended Texts:

Demaria, Robert. British Literature 1640-1780: An Anthology (Blackwell)
Gay, John. The Beggar’s Opera (Penguin)
Sterne, Laurence. A Sentimental Journey (Pernguin)
Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto (Penguin)
Benedict, Barbara. Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry (Chicago)

* indicates excerpts and poems from Robert Demaria, British Literature 1640-1780: An Anthology (Blackwell)

** A note about texts: You may check out these books from a WRLC library, order them through CLS, or purchase them online; you may also visit the Library of Congress for your readings and research. All excerpts indicated with an asterisk, however, will come from the Demaria anthology, so I strongly recommend gaining access to this text! The other primary sources are available in multiple editions, and some are online in full text; some full text is available only at the LOC through Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) or Early English Books Online (EEBO).. Just be sure to find the correct texts and bring them to our tutorials!


We’ll be meeting once a week, for an hour and a half, to discuss the readings. Each tutorial, you’ll be required to bring in a two- to three-page essay response to the readings, on an important theme, motif, or argument that is of interest to you (a copy each member of the tutorial, including me). You should be brief, but you should not allow your ideas either to be wholly unrooted in the details of the readings, or to be consumed with only the details; instead, try to strike a nice balance of idea and supporting detail. It should have a thesis or a point! We will start the tutorial with any specific questions you had regarding the reading, particularly concrete questions of meaning, context, and so on. Then, you will read your response aloud. Finally, we will discuss your response in light of the readings.

At the end of the term, I will expect an 8-10 page research-based analytical essay on a topic we come up with together. All your work should be in MLA form, with clear attention to the stylistic and formal elements of your prose.


LOC Meeting: 3:00pm in front of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress. Bring a friend! We'll get our cards, and I'll show you how to use the resources they have.


Meeting 1: Introductions

Longman Anthology online overview of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century <http://wps.ablongman.com/long_damrosch_britlit_2/3/780/199748.cw/index.html>

Norton Anthology online overview of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century <http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/18century/welcome.htm>

Benedict, Barbara. Introduction: “Inspecting and Spectating: Monsters, Rarities, and Investigators.”

A Curious Age

Pepys, Samuel. A Pepys Anthology: Passages from the Diary of Samuel Pepys. Ed. by Robert and Linnet Latham. Berkeley: U of CA Press, 2008.

The following sections: “Introduction: Pepys and the Restoration,” “The Virtuoso,” “Marvels and Mysteries,” “The Plague,” “The Fire of London,” “Travellers’ Tales”

* Sprat, Thomas. History of the Royal Society <http://ethnicity.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/sprat.html>

Philosophical Transactions selections (TBD).

Hooke, Robert. Micrographia; or, Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses (1665). (Selections)

You may find this in a modern editions of your choice, or by going to the Library of Congress and finding a full-text facsimile in Early English Books Online (EEBO).

Cavendish, The Atomic Poems (selections) <http://womenwriters.library.emory.edu/essay.php?level=div&id=atomic_000>


Meeting 2: Curious Women

* Philips, Behn, Chudleigh, Finch, Astell

* Haywood, Eliza. Fantomina (1724/5)

Swift, “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (1732) <http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/dressing.html>

Montagu, “The Reasons that Induced Dr. S---- to Write a Poem Call’d ‘The Lady’s Dressing Room’” (1732)

Benedict, Barbara. Chapter 3, “From the Curious to the Curio”

Meeting 3: Hoaxes, Frauds, Spectators and Spectacles

Benedict, Barbara. Chapter One, “Regulating Curiosity”

Look up: Mary Toft, the Bottle Conjuror, the Mechanical Turk

Psalmanazar, George. Excerts from A Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa (1704) <http://www.romanization.com/books/psalmanazaar/index.html>


* Chatterton, Thomas. Excerpt from Poems, Supposed to have been Written at Bristol, by Thomas Rowley, and Others, in the Fifteenth Century (1777)

Ruthven, K. K. “Sampling the Spurious” in Faking Literature *

Defoe, Apparition of Mrs. Veal (1706)<http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/veal.html>

Meeting 4: Print Culture and the Curious Public

Hogarth, William. Engravings (TBD); excerpts from Analysis of Beauty

* Pope, Alexander. The Dunciad Variorum (excerpts)

Spectator, Tatler, Female Spectator, Ramber journals: Paper 1 of each. (Online in The Spectator Project or in various print editions.)

Gay, John. The Beggar’s Opera (1728) and supporting ephemera (TBD)

Meeting 5: Curious Objects and Practices of Consumption

Benedict, Barbara. Chapter 2, “Consuming Curiosity”

Steele, Richard. “The Life and Adventures of a Shilling.” The Tatler No. 249 (1709). <http://meta.montclair.edu/SPECTATOR/> [This also exists in print anthologies of Addison & Steele, including Erin Mackie, The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from The Tatler and The Spectator. This text also contains the essays on the pleasures of the imagination.

* Gay,  John. Excerpts from Trivia; or, The Art of Walking the Streets (1716)



* Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock (1712, 1714)

Deutsch, Helen. Introduction to Resemblance & Disgrace: Alexander Pope and the deformation of culture

Meeting 6: Letters and Curious Lives

Montagu, Mary Wortley. Excerpts from the Turkish Embassy Letters.

To the Lady _____, 1 April 1717, Adrianople (“I am now got into a new world”)

To Alexander Pope, I April 1717, Adrianople (“I dare say you expect at least something very new in this letter”)

To the Abbot Conti, 1 April 1717, Adrianople (“You see that I am very exact”)

To the Countess of [Mar], 1 April 1717, Adrianople (“I wish..tthat you was as regular in letting me have the pleasure of knowing what passes on your side of the globe”)

To Lady — — — , Adrianople, 1 April 1717 (Turkish Baths)

To [Miss Sarah Chiswell], 1 April 1717, Adrianople (Smallpox inoculation)

To the Lady _____, 17 June 1717, Belgrade Village (“I heartily beg your Ladyship's pardon”)

To Lady Mar, 18 April 1718, Adrianople (Visiting Fatima and the Grand Kahaya’s Lady)

To the Abbot Conti, 19 May 1718, Constantinople (“...these people are not so unpolished as we represent them”)

* Pope, Alexander. To Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1 September 1718

* Boswell, James. Excerpts from The Life of Johnson (1740-1795)

* Piozzi, Hester Lynch Thrale. Excerpts from Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786)

* Johnson, Samuel. Excerpts from The Lives of the Poets

* Burney, Frances. Letter of 27-9 March 1777

Deutsch, Helen. “Dr. Johnson, Amelia, and the Discourse of Disability”

Meeting 7: Curiosity and The Lives of “Others”; or, Sympathy and Difference

* Fielding, Henry. Excerpt from “An Essay on Conversation” (1743)

The Spectator essay 11, 13 March 1711 (“Inkle and Yarico”)

* Barbauld, Anna Laetitia. “The Mouse’s Petition” (1792)

* Equiano, Olaudah. Excerpts from The Interesting Narrative (1789)

* Mackenzie, Henry. Excerpts from The Man of Feeling (1771)

Sterne, Laurence. A Sentimental Journey (1768)

* More, Hanna. Excerpts from Sensibility (1782) and The Slave Trade (1790)

Wollstonecraft Godwin, Mary. Excerpts from Vindications of the Rights of Women

Benedict, Barbara. Chapter 5, “Performing Curiosity”

Meeting 8: Strange Works: A Curious Miscellany

Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto (1764)

* Smart, Christopher. Excerpts from Jubilate Agno (1758-1763).

* William Cowper, “On a Goldfinch Starved to Death in his Cage” (1782), “Epitaph on a Hare” (1784), and “To the Immortal Memory of the Halibut on which I Dined this Day” (1784)

* Gray, Thomas. “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat” (1748)

Coda: Frances Burney’s Breast (Letter of 22 March 1812, to Esther Burney)

Meeting 9: Curious You!

Today we'll discuss  your research project; bring a 2-3 page proposal, fairly fleshed out, along with a working bibliography. What is the question (about this literature, culture, etc) that you're interested in answering through your essay?


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