British Literature 1616-1780
Time: Monday 2-4:45 pm
Room: CPR 337
Because I serve as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of English, my office hours
are frequently filled by appointment. To schedule an apppointment, please contact Lee Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This class covers the literature between the death of Shakespeare through the American Revolution,
curious dates for a literary survey. Notable historical events of the era include the English Civil Wars (1642-1646; 1648),
the beheading of King Charles I (1649), the republic (1649-1653); the Protectorate (Cromwell) (1653-1659); the Restoration 1660;
the Glorious Revolution and the settlement of the crown (1688+); Act of union with Scotland (1707); Jacobite Rebellion (1745);
Seven Years War (1756-1763); American Revolution (1775-1783).
It was also an era of scientific discovery, travel around the world, trade and empire building. In this class we will consider how
literature constructs its world -- the world of 17th and 18th-century Britain -- and how it takes us as readers to a new and different place.
We will consider how this Enlightenment world differs from and shapes our own world, today, and we will consider the ideas of place, empire
environment and nature to explore our relationship to this literature. We will also consider eighteenth-century adaptations.
The class will be divided into two parts: the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century. There will be a midterm in
between. There will be two creative-critical assignments (one individual and one group) as well as WEEKLY informal writing assignments to be posted to the class
discussion board on BLACKBOARD. There will also be a cumulative final exam. We will be viewing some films (at least one outside of class). The class format is largely discussion oriented
but we will draw on contemplative modes in class, such as meditation, contemplative reading, directed inquiry and writing, and silence.
Each class will have a set of discussion notes and questions available
before class to guide your reading and prompt your writings. There will also be one mandatory office visit, to
allow the instructor to get to know the students on a one-to-one basis.
This course is designed to meet the following objectives:
For students to demonstrate knowledge of authors, content and forms of British Literature from 1616-1780,
poetry in particular;
For students to develop skills in literary analysis and authentic writing about literature;
For students to write about, meditate on, evaluate and synthesize information on place and the construction of real and imaginary places in literature;
The Norton Anthology of English Literature 8th edition, Volume C: The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
John Milton's Paradise Lost ed. Gordon Teskey, Norton Critical Edition
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe ed. Evan R. Davis, Broadview Edition
For an general introduction to computing facilities and classes at USF, see
USF Academic Computing Home Page.
This class will be interacting with the Blackboard website for ENL3230.03S11, to be
located on your MY USF website. To register and log in, visit https://my.usf.edu
You will find the discussion board for your weekly informal postings on this Blackboard site,
and I will also post assignments, messages and further information about the class on this site.
PLEASE CHECK IT FREQUENTLY.
My website: information on class, notes and discussion questions for each class, assignments and links to other important
sites on literature, etc.
Other important websites will be listed in the schedule of reading and following the assignments.
NOTE: Individual class notes with detailed reading assignments will be updated weekly.
Reading Suggestions: Please read the author headnote in the Norton Anthology for every author. Also read the period
introductory essay for essential background information. We will also be using the
Norton Online materials, and so
you should be prepared to read and consult the materials there.
Jan. 10: Introductions: Place and history in the 17th and 18th Centuries
Readings on Bb, course docs:
Lawrence Buell, excerpt from The Future of Environmental Criticism Blackwell Publishing, 2005, pp. 72-74.
John Donne, "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning," and "I am a little world made cunningly"
Choose Groups A and B
Jan 17: NO CLASS - MLK Day
Readings on Bb, course docs:
Jan. 24 Class 2
Tim Cresswell, Place: An Introduction chaps 1& 2
Miles Ogborn and Charles W. J. Withers, "Travel, Trade, and Empire: Knowing Other Places, 1660-1800" in Concise Companion to the Restoration and Eigtheenth-century ed.
Cynthia Wall, Blackwell, 2005, pp. 13-35.
Vincent Virga, "Forweword" to Florida: Mapping the Sunshine State through History, Morris Book Publishing, 2011, pp. vi-x.
Recommended: NAEL Volume C, Literary Terminology (A27-48) and Geographic Nomenclature (A49-50).
On Bb, course docs: Katherine Philips "Upon the Double Murder of King Charles" (1691), and
"To Mrs. M. A. at Parting" (1693)
Jan. 31 Class 3
Andrew Marvell "The Garden" (1710)
Post 1 Group A -- Response 1 Group B
John Milton, Paradise Lost (selections, see notes)
Feb. 7 Class 4
Post #1 - Group B -- Response 1 Group A
Paradise Lost continued
Feb. 14 Class 5
Post 2 Group A -- Response 2 Group B
John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel
Feb. 21 Class 6
Post 2 Group B -- Response 2 Group A
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko(2183-2226)
Feb. 28 Class 7
Post 3 Group A -- Response 3 Group B
WIKI Commonplace Book, Check #1
Mar 7 Class 8
Thomas Gray, "Elegy in a Country Churchyard"
Mar 21 Class 9
Anne Finch, "Nocturnal Reverie"
DUE: Midterm exams
Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Book 4
Mar 28 Class 10
DUE: Midterm "Letter to the Professor" in lieu of Post and response-- Both Groups
Samuel Johnson's Rasselas
April 4 Class 11
Post 4 Group B -- Response 4 Group A
WIKI Commonplace Book, Check #2
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe
Post 5 Group A -- Response 5 Group B
April 11 Class 12
Robinson Crusoe cont.
April 18 Class 13
Post 5 Group B -- Response 5 Group A
Castaway (movie -- in class)
April 25 Class 14
Post 6 Group A -- Response 6 Group B
Reading in Bb Course Docs: Bartram's Travels excerpts
May 2: DUE: Take-home Final Exam
Post 6 Group B -- Response 6 Group A
WIKI Commonplace Book, Check #3
Click on the link for more information about the assignments.
Attendance/Participation/Office Visit - 15%
Weekly Posts and Responses (12) 20%
Creative/Critical Group Project: CANCELED
Commonplace book on WIKI (checked 3 x) -- 15%
Final Examination 25%
This syllabus is subject to change.
** Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to a major religious observance
must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.
Readings - the class will be assigned specific literary works to read and discuss in
class as well as a variety of background or supplementary readings, indicated on the syllabus and/or
on the class notes, linked to the syllabus. Students are responsible for reading everything assigned by the date on which it appears on the
In the case of poetry, the student should read the poems early and continue to re-read them before we
discuss them in class. Outside readings will be made available online through Blackboard course documents,
online websites, library resources (including reserves) as well as in assigned books. Students who are
unfamiliar with good strategies for reading in college literature courses should consult
the document How to Read a Text .
Weekly Informal Writings - each student will be required to submit a post to the class
discussion board in answer to one of the questions raised in the class notes for the day. Sometimes I will
ask for a specific assignment, such as "After reading the assignment, what questions do you have? What prompts
those questions?" And sometimes there will be a series of reading comprehension and analytical questions from
which to choose. Because we have a large class and because we only meet once per week, I am dividing the class into two groups. One
group will be responsible for writing a post and the other will be responsible for writing a thoughtful response to one of the posts or
ongoing discussions. Each post or response should be a minimum of 200 words. Each student will be writing something to the discussion board
every week, except for March 7. Students posting an original response will have posts due by Saturday at 5:00 pm;
students who are writing a response will have posts due by Sunday midnight. This change is effective beginning after March 7.
Commonplace book on WIKI
Commonplace book: Students will develop a personalized commonplace book in the course wiki, based
on the pedagogical practice that became popular in the seventeenth century. Essentially, readers,
scholars, students and the like would collect sayings or phrases or important information that they wanted
to remember in their commonplace book. It was a form of studying, annotating and making one's own.
For more information on the commonplace book, see: Commonplace Book on Wikipedia.
Students should collect quotations, sayings, important information that they want to remember and copy them in their commonplace books.
Because we have the advantage of multi-media writing, students can - and are encouraged to - also incorporate visual and auditory
information in their commonplace books. This is not only a way to collect what you like or think is important in the class, but
to create a space for you as person on this journey to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Make it personal, and make it your own.
Have fun with it, and make comments on your classmates commonplace books.
We will look at some examples of commonplace books online, and you will quickly learn that they take varied forms.
Some are neat, some are messy. They contain all sorts of things that make us wonder about the writers. For you, this
is an opportunity to collect quotations that you want to think about more or might write on. It is a chance to write your
own reflections on the quotations. It is a chance to scrapbook the journey through literature and the world that we will
be taking this semester.
The instructor will evaluate these commonplace books three times during the semester, and each time will be weighed equally
in determining the final grade. Like all of the assignments, this will constitute 15% of your final grade. For each evaluation,
you should have a minimum of one full page of material. That is about 400 words. It can be a mixture of quotations and your own
writing, or mostly quotations and pictures or audio files from elsewhere. For each evaluation day, though, I would like for you to
write a paragraph on what the collection means. Of course, this will differ from person to person, but essentially you should explain
to the reader what he or she is looking at and why. Please use standard academic English when writing your explanatory paragraph.
Because this work is ongoing, you should make a practice of quoting or marking quotations as you read, and transferring them to your
commonplace book as soon as possible. This act of appropriation can actually be creative even while it serves as a way of
remembering the literature. As you copy, you can imagine adapting the work and making it your own, like contemporary remix.
This is how literature works over time; writers read and adapt and make their own.
So get started on this as soon as possible. Make an addition every week. Don't put it off, because
you will miss the fun and the educational effect of the process. I'll set up a page for each of you,
and we will have access to each other's pages for observation and commenting ONLY. Do not change another
student's page without permission.
Critical/Creative Group Project
This project has been canceled. The weighting of the other course requirements have been adjusted accordingly.
Students may contact me at any time by email: email@example.com
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