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November 23, 2015

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Dr. Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 360 D
Phone: 813-974-9496

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ENL 6236 Eighteenth-century Women Authors

Fall 2015
Time: Tuesday
3:30-6:15 pm
Room: CPR 257


  • Eighteenth-Century Resource Guide (formerly Reference List)
  • Assignments
  • Related Sites
    1. Course Description

      This course surveys the “Age of the Emerging Female Writer” and includes the best female authors between the years 1660-1789. Updated with a 2015 twist, the course has the added experience of digging in the digital archive. Almost all the course readings, including lyric poetry and satire, experiments in the early novel, essays, popular plays, letters and memoirs, can be found either online or in digital databases, and we will learn about book history and editing by attending to works in digital forms. In addition to collections such as EEBO and ECCO, the Burney Newspaper Database, Hathi Trust and Google Books, we will engage new digital archives and tools such as the Digital Miscellanies Index, the Ann Finch Digital Archive, ABO Public, and the 18thCentury Common. We will even do some feminist Wikipedia intervention.

      What was the eighteenth-century woman like? The literature foregrounds the figure of “woman” in an historical context that assumed she was inferior to “man” and that engendered some of the earliest feminist discourse. Women expressed public and private concerns in their writing, such as about courtship and marriage, sexuality, children, economics, slavery, empire and travel, education, literary authority and publication. Remarkably resonant with contemporary cultural issues, the class will examine representations of rape culture, slut shaming, gender performance, celebrity, scandal, nerds, healthy lifestyles, developing a following, and the like.

      The course is grounded in feminist historiography and literary criticism, making questions of how we constitute the category of literature and why we read and study it central to our purpose. The field of early women’s writing offers many opportunities for substantial new research; class members will become conversant in current critical conversations on the subject, practicing critical reading skills on secondary resources, and producing digital writing in public and professional genres. Through weekly scaffolded assignments, students will build a fully researched author summary project, and through similarly scaffolded weekly assignments, students will learn to edit Wikipedia and contribute new biographical and literary history on eighteenth-century women writers. Students will engage in weekly writing, hands-on in-class research and creative activities, and develop an independent research essay of conference presentation length. This course fulfills an 18th Century distribution and cultural-critical studies requirements and students may produce an MA pre-1900 portfolio paper. The course reading list is available on request.

    Course Objectives

  • To understand the literary history of eighteenth-century women authors;
  • To write literary history based in archival research, including biography, print and performance history and reception, manuscripts;
  • To practice skills of digital literacy, including evaluation of resources, navigating and searching, analyzing architectures, digital research and production;
  • To produce original scholarly writing in several genres;
  • To produce public writing on Wikipedia related to eighteenth-century women authors;
  • To produce a body of original work, critical and creative in nature, that furthers the student's own intellectual and personal goals.

  • Required Materials

    Margaret J. Ezell, Writing Women’s Literary History, Johns Hopkins UP, 1996

    Staves, Susan, A Literary History of Women's Writing in Britain, 1660-1789, Cambridge, 2006

    British Women Poets of the Long Eighteenth Century, [BWPLEC] ed. Paula R. Backscheider & Catherine E. Ingrassia, Johns Hopkins UP, 2009, ISBN: 13: 978-0-8018-9278-3 or 10: 8018-9278-3

    Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works, ed. Janet Todd, Penguin 1992, ISBN 014 043338 4

    Finberg, Melinda, Eighteenth-century Women Dramatists, Oxford 2001, ISBN 0 19 282729 4

    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Selected Letters, ed. Isobel Grundy, Penguin Classics, 1997 ISBN: 978-0-140-43490-3

    Recommended Materials

    Scott, Sarah, Millenium Hall, ed. Gary Kelly, Broadview 1995, ISBN 1 55111 015 6
    [You will have the option of reading this 200 page novel in digital form if you prefer.]

    Ballaster, Ros (ed.), The History of British Women's Writing volume 4, 1690-1750, Houndsmill, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 2013. Print.

    Labbe, Jacqueline M. (ed.), The History of British Women's Writing volume 5, 1750-1830. Houndsmill, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 2013. Print.

    Electronic Media

    There are four important course sites you should bookmark:

      The course homepage on my website [You are here.]

      The Canvas course page: ENL6236.901F15, where documents, assignments and modules will be posted. This is also where our weekly discussion will be held, and other possible collaborations.

      The google share drive:

      The course Wikipedia page:

    There are many digital resources that we will be using in this class. A list can be found here.

    ***All students should bring their laptops or tablets to class for work on digital resources and in-class activities.***


    Notes for each class will be updated throughout the term

    August 25 Class 1: Introductions

      Review Syllabus
      Introduce Wikipedia Assignments
      Digital Resources for class
      Assign authors

    Sept 1 Class 2: Literary History

      Ezell, Writing Women’s Literary History (Intro, chs 1-4);
      Staves, Literary History of Women’s Writing in Britain, 1660-1789, Introduction;
      Judith Phillips Stanton “Statistical Profile of Women Writing in English 1660-1800,” Canvas
      Patrick Spedding, “’The New Machine’: Discovering the Limits of ECCO.” Canvas.
      Research Workshop with Melanie Griffin

      DUE Post #1

    September 8 Class 3: 17th C prose

      Staves, Chapter 1 (27-89);
      Todd Introduction, Behn’s Oroonoko, The Fair Jilt,
      Margaret Fell Fox, “Women’s Speaking Justified,” EEBO.

      DUE: Post #2
      Wikipedia training complete.
      Wiki assignment: Start talk page – visit someone’s talk page. Join one of the Wiki communities/projects.

    September 15 Class 4: 17th and early 18th C Poetry

      Staves chapter 2 (90-121)
      BWPLEC “How to Read Eighteenth Century Poetry,” Introduction
      See Author biographies in the back and the alternative table of contents for list of poems for each author.
      Behn (BWPLEC and Todd) all poems;
      Finch (BWPLEC and Finch Archive all poems
      Barker (BWPLEC) all poems;
      We will review Digital Miscellanies Index in class.

      DUE: Post #3
      Wiki Assign: Correct or fix a line or two in one of the articles for class. Upload an image to one of the articles for class.

    September 22 Class 5: Feminist Resistance

      Meet in Grace Allen Room of USF Library (4th Floor) for class on 17th and 18th c books with Melanie Griffin
      Staves Chapter 3
      Astell’s Serious Proposal to the Ladies, part I (Internet Archive;
      Poems by Chudleigh, (To the Ladies BWPLEC)
      Astell (TBA),
      Egerton (The Emulation BWPLEC);

      DUE: Post #4
      Wiki Assign: Generate a list of article suggestions and /or corrections to your author article in your sandbox. Visit two other class members’ sandbox and add comments

    September 29 Class 6: Restoration and Early 18th C Drama

      Finberg, Introduction, Note on the Texts, Restoration and Eighteenth-century Stages, Bibliography and Chronology;
      Behn, The Rover (Todd);
      Pix, The Innocent Mistress (Finberg);
      Centlivre The Busy Body (Finberg, also ECCO for comparison);
      The London Stage Part 1 (HathiTrust: [Read Critical Introduction (189 pages) for skimming; We will conduct a research assignment on specific plays in class.]

      DUE: Post #5
      Wiki Assign: Present briefly your article decision (collaborate, trade authors, brainstorm) and list it on course wiki site

    October 6 Class 7: Early Novels

      Staves chapter 4 (165-227)
      Eliza Haywood, Fantomina (found in Haywood, Eliza Fowler. Secret histories, novels and poems. In four volumes. Written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood. Vol. Volume 3.The second edition. London, M.DCC.XXV. [1725]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of South Florida.)
      Rowe, Elizabeth Singer. Friendship in death. In twenty letters from the dead to the living. London, MDCCXXVIII. [1728]. (found in Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of South Florida)

      DUE: Midterm evaluation (Canvas)
      Post #6
      Wiki Assign: Research and write article bibliography (5-10 sources)

    October 13 Class 8: Poetry on Friendship

      Staves, Chapter 5

      On Women’s Friendship (BWPLEC 291-331) (Phillips, Egerton, Finch, Chandler, Wright, Brereton Lennox, Leapor, Carter,etc.)

      DUE: Post #7
      Wiki Assign: Research and write article bibliography (5-10 sources)

    October 20 Class 9: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

      Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, entire Selected Letters (ed. Isobel Grundy);
      (In class review Locating London; Google maps)

      DUE: Post #8
      Wiki Assign: Write article / edit article in sandbox

    October 27 Class 10: Bluestockings

    November 3 Class 11: Work day

      November 4 is ABO/ABS Wikipedia editathon – extra credit for participation

      Class will not meet; students will have the opportunity to work on research projects.

      DUE: Post #10
      Wiki Assign: Post final edits to article page, remove from sandbox.

    November 10 Class 12: Millenium Hall

      Sarah Scott Millenium Hall; (Available on Internet Archive

      DUE: Post #11

    November 17 Class 13: Anna Aikin Barbauld's Poems

      Staves Chapter 7 Anna Letiticia (Aikin) Barbauld (Aikin’s 1772 Poems in ECCO). Burney Newspaper Database assignment in class
      Due: Post #12

    November 24 Class 14: Late Century Drama

      Frances Burney Witlings (HTML version by Ray Davis
      Elizabeth Griffith’s The Times (Finberg)
      Hannah Cowley Belle Strategem (Finberg)

      DUE: Post #13

    December 1 Class 15: Conclusions

      Readings TBA; peer-review essays; student presentations of research

      DUE: Post #14
      Wiki Assign: Class Book (evaluate and discuss)

    DUE DECEMBER 8: Final papers with cover letter

    ** Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to the observation of a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.

    ** In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Canvas, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It is the responsibility of the student to monitor the Canvas site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

    Graded Assignments

    Attendance/Participation in all class activities 10%

    Weekly Posts (14) 15%

    Scholarly Article Presentation 10%

    Author Summary Project/weekly assignments 20%

    Wikipedia article / weekly assignments 20%

    Conference paper (3000 words / 10 page min) and cover letter 25%

    Description of graded assignments

    Attendance and Participation in all class activities This class is designed to give students hands-on guided experience in conducting archival, digital research, and there will be weekly assignments for homework as well as in-class. Otherwise, the class is based on discussion and participation, and so attendance is mandatory. Please see my class policies link (sidebar) for details on how the grading will be done. I expect everyone to engage in the in-class activities to gain the fullest benefit of the course. There is often a significant reading assignment for class, and I expect you to be prepared. If you need to read ahead on light weeks or otherwise plan ahead for getting the reading done, please do so. If at any point you feel overwhelmed by the pressures of graduate school or the expectations of the class, please talk to me about it rather than go AWOL.

    Weekly writings to discussion board:

    For each class students will be expected to post an informal writing on the week's reading to the class discussion board on Canvas. Notes and discussion questions will be posted on the syllabus, linked to the date of the class. Students should read and respond to one of the questions. These will be open ended and reflective in nature. The posts should be a minimum of 300 words in length. They will be evaluated on a 3-point scale for the effort put into the writing. Full effort will be recognized by the timely submission of a writing meeting the minimal length and engaged in the subject of the class for that week. If you do not hear any response from me, you have received full credit for the post. I will only contact you regarding a post if it falls short of expectations. Students are expected to read the posts of their fellow students before posting so as to avoid repeating the same information and to engage in a conversation that builds on shared knowledge. These are informal in nature and therefore can be explorative, inquisitive, risk-taking. The idea is not to look for the single correct answer but to expand your understanding of the subjects.

    These posts will form the beginning point for our class work, and so I expect students to take the assignment seriously. For more information on the ways in which this assignment facilitates learning, please see my general description on weekly posts.
    Posts are due by 9 pm the night before class, so that all students will have an opportunity to read the posts before me meet at 3:30.

    Scholarly Article Presentation:

    To gain practice in understanding the methods and structure of scholarly argument, and to participate in the scholarly conversation on eighteenth-century women's writing, we will review one scholarly essay each class in detail. Each student is expected to lead a discussion (though to be honest, I tend to jump in a lot). I will provide recommendations for selecting an appropriate essay as part of your training in conducting scholarly research. Students should get approval for the selected essay a week in advance of the class presentation, and a PDF of the article should be sent to me so I can post it in Canvas.

    You will sign up for a class (one essay per class only) early in the semester. We will evaluate the essay according to the following standards for excellent scholarship:

  • Evaluate the article’s placement in a disciplinary or interdisciplinary discussion (what existing argument(s) is it arguing for, against, supplementing?)
  • Evaluate the success of the introduction (engages, grounds, provides purpose, argument and significance)
  • Evaluate the purpose for this article (what does it set out to do? What informational needs does it meet? Why is it necessary?)
  • Evaluate the thesis – is it defensible? Clear? Relevant? Original?
  • Evaluate the significance – what is the pay off or take away from this article?
  • Evaluate the methodology – what information does the article use (Primary and secondary)? How does the article use this information (theoretical/disciplinary constructs)? Are the sources accurate, legitimate, most relevant? Are the sources used responsibly, clearly? If not, are the problems stylistic or substantive?
  • Evaluate the argumentation – how does the article prove its claims? Is it persuasive? Is it logical? Is it otherwise sound (ethical, up-to-date, relevant)? Is it complete?
  • Evaluate the conclusion / whole – does the article achieve what it sets out to do? (Do not evaluate whether it does what you WANT it to do, but rather evaluate the soundness based on the terms of its construction). Does it hold interest? Why or why not? What are its significant achievements? Where does it seem weakest?
  • All students are expected to read each essay. The student presenter should prepare an article summary based on the key elements above to demonstrate your understanding of the article and the raise questions about the content, thesis, methods, conclusions, etc. The article summary and evaluation should be between 750 and 1000 words, due on the day of the discussion. Please submit all written material via Canvas assignments. Your presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, though discussion may range further. Visuals are encouraged.

    Author Summary Project / weekly assignments:

    At the beginning of class, I will assign you one of the class authors for which you will build an exhaustive author summary based on archival research. (You will have one opportunity to change or trade authors.) Your author will be the example you use for in-class research activities, and all the weekly assignments and in-class activities will become part of your summary project. Some research activities will begin in class and need to be concluded on your own time. I have scaffolded the assignments into nine steps to be conducted over the course of the semester:

    1) Compare and contrast the three biographical articles (Wikipedia, Blackwell and ODNB)

    2) Create bibliography of biographical references (extensive) based on biographical references listed in the 18thC Resource Guide; write a life summary

    3) Choose a full-length biography of your author (if available) and verify its reliability. Read and annotate for your author profile.

    4) Conduct searches for scholarly references based on training and resource guide and create full list of citations of scholarship on your author in chronological order, oldest to most recent (if this has already been done for your author, eg. Behn or Haywood, review this bibliography and excerpt a list of most significant scholarship by decade.)

    5) Research author in EEBO and ECCO for list of titles by the author (compare to Worldcat); generate bibliography of authored works (if this has been done for your author, e.g. Behn, Haywood, add the published bibliography to your bibliography and write the list of major titles with dates of publication).

    6) Choose the most popular work of your author (most reprints or productions) and write a print and/or production history (include adaptations or modern editions)

    7) Locate the manuscripts of your author in current repositories (see locators in resource guide). Draft a rationale for visiting one of the repositories to research the manuscripts

    8) Using advanced Google searches and other internet resources, create a list of databases, website, digital texts for your author (your author’s digital presence)

    9) Based on your author summary, create a list of areas 1) of trends in scholarship and 2) needing further research

    This project lays the foundation for a research paper and the Wikipedia article project, and it trains you in conducting archival research in literature. Students will have the opportunity to present on their topic during the last class. For more information see the Canvas course page.

    Wikipedia Article / weekly assignments:

    The class focuses on writing literary history, in particular for eighteenth-century women. Our contemporary moment provides us the opportunity to write literary history for the broadest audience possible in Wikipedia. After introducing the rationale for the Wikipedia interventions on feminist topics, and setting you up with your training, all students will perform scaffolded weekly tasks to train you to edit Wikipedia. This project will dovetail with the Author Summary project. As you become an expert on one author and experienced in evaluating scholarly versus encyclopedic writing forms, you will practice writing literary history by editing an article on your author or her works. The weekly assignments are described on the syllabus and in the course wiki page. This course is supported by the Wiki Education Foundation and has course mentors assigned to guide us. Ultimately, students will be expected to add or create a minimum of 1000 words content on your author to be evaluated by an assignment rubric. This assignment is intended to improve public knowledge of women authors through your contribution, to train more feminist wikipedia editors, and to advance your digital literacy. For more information, see the Wikipedia Course page.

    Conference Paper and Cover letter:

    To advance your scholarly practice, you will write an original scholarly analysis based on the content from the course. During the semester we will evaluate and attempt a variety of scholarly, analytical methods designed to prompt your further practice. You will develop a scholarly argument in a conference-length paper of a minimum of 3000 words / ten pages. All students should meet with me before the Thanksgiving break to get approval of your argument/idea. Naturally the research you conduct on your author summary project and wikipedia article situate you to write a scholarly article on that topic; however, you are not constrained by that. All topics need to be approved. We will have the opportunty to do some peer-review on the last class; the cover letter should be a statement of your intent with reflection on your methods; you should also use the cover letter to assess your learning in the course and your plans for future work in the area. For example, if you intend to use the paper for a Master's Portfolio, you should reflect this in your letter with some ideas for developing the paper to full length.

    PhD Seminar Credit

    Students completing a PHD seminar credit will be expected to take on additional challenges in the Author Summary Project (to be determined) and annotate the bibliography. Depending on the amount of material to be annotated, this work should be a minimum of ten double-spaced pages in length. You will also be required to extend the length of the final written project to 25 pages.

    This syllabus is subject to change.

    Author List

    Aphra Behn
    Margaret Fell Fox
    Jane Barker
    Anne Finch
    Mary Pix
    Susanna Centlivre
    Eliza Haywood
    Elizabeth Rowe
    Sarah Fyge Egerton
    Elizabeth Carter
    Mary Astell
    Mary, Lady Chudleigh
    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
    Elizabeth Montagu
    Sarah Scott
    Frances Burney
    Elizabeth Griffith
    Hannah Cowley
    Anna Leticia Barbauld

    Related Sites

    Please see this list of Digital Resources in 18th-Century Studies.

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