18th Century Literature—The Art
of Satire ~ ENGL 3363—(Revised spring 2012)
Dr. Jonathan Alexander
609-894-9311 or 856-222-9311 (x1123)
E-mail: email@example.com (please use my BCC account)
Online syllabus: http://staff.bcc.edu/faculty_websites/jalexand/3363syl.htm
TEXTS: Most of the materials for this course are to be acquired by each student as needs arise. All students will read a selection of poems which are available online through this syllabus, while the prose readings that students select (fiction, non-fiction and drama) should be accessed either online at one of the sites listed below or purchased in an inexpensive version at the student’s discretion.
COURSE OVERVIEW: This
class will be conducted as a blend of seminar-style discussion and independent
research. It will serve as an introduction to the broad-ranging literature of
the long eighteenth century (from the restoration of
Attendance: If the student is to profit from any course, he or she must attend class on a consistent basis.
Students must attend all classes for the full duration of each session. Should you need to miss a class for observance of religious holidays, jury duty, military duty, bereavement, or illness, you must notify the instructor by telephone or e-mail prior to or within 24 hours after the class. Without such communication, students forfeit the right to make up missed work. If such communication is made, students will be permitted to make up missed work at the beginning of the following class meeting. It is, therefore, the student’s responsibility to read the syllabus and be prepared for current as well as missed assignments.
Entering class late or leaving class early (without prior authorization) is considered disrespectful and will not be tolerated.
Academic Etiquette: Students will respect themselves, their peers and their instructors by considering the following:
Cell phones must be kept on silent. No calls are to be made or received during class. If you are expecting an important call during the class meeting time, notify me prior to class and quietly excuse yourself if the call is received. No text-messaging or game-playing will be tolerated.
Students who wish to use the restrooms may do so by quietly leaving and re-entering the room. If a student believes he or she will require an absence of more than a few minutes, it is his responsibility to notify me accordingly.
Communication: Many means of communication are available to the student including telephone, e-mail and mailbox.
If you leave a message on my office voice-mail (x1123), please remember to speak clearly and provide your name, course information, and phone number if you request a return call.
Students who send me e-mail and do not receive a reply of any kind within 48 hours should assume it was never received. Such e-mails should be resent. If your message doesn’t present itself as urgent, I may reply quickly and briefly and ask to get back to you before long.
Students who send e-mails containing attachments must save these documents as one of the following types: DOC, DOCX, TXT, or RTF. Please do not send any MAC “Pages” files or WPS files. You may also choose to copy and paste the text of your assignment into the e-mail message itself, and always send a copy back to yourself (or another email account) as a receipt to verify if the transmission fails to reach me.
All work written and submitted should utilize standard rules of grammar, sentence organization, paragraph organization, and diction.
All formal papers are to be typed, titled, double spaced, and carefully proofread. Documents are not to be held together by paperclips, alligator clips, or other creative measures. Papers will not be accepted unless they are stapled prior to arriving to class. Asking me to borrow a stapler will not place you in a positive light.
All assignments are due on the date specified on the syllabus. Assignments which are not submitted during the class session they are due will be penalized. If you happen to be absent for a particular class session and you wait to submit a paper until the next class meeting, it will lose 15% for each day it is late. NOTE: A “day” is a calendar day, not a class meeting. A paper which is received by email within two hours of the end of the assigned class session will be considered submitted on time (without a penalty for lateness). A paper which is received after two hours, but before 10pm, will incur a late penalty of 5%. All other papers received after 10pm on the assigned day will incur a 15% penalty per day.
If a student presents reasonable justification for an absence, this absence will not be counted against the student’s course grade; however, such an absence does not allow for more time to complete assignments. Since students are provided with all assignments and deadlines on the first day of the semester, excuses such as “crashed computers,” “misplaced data,” “misplaced flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. There is no excuse for not saving all documents twice (hard drive and floppy/flash).
Plagiarism will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Be aware that plagiarism includes (but is not limited to) copying someone else’s words without crediting the source; paraphrasing someone else’s words without crediting the source; using someone else’s ideas without crediting the source (even if rephrased in your own words); using facts not universally known which are obtained from a source without crediting the source; asking someone else to write your paper, either in whole or in part; or obtaining a paper or portion thereof by any means and submitting it as an original document. The penalty for plagiarism is failure of the assignment and potentially failure of the course (at the instructor’s discretion), and it may result in suspension or expulsion from the College (at the discretion of the Student Affairs Committee). Please refer to the Student Handbook for additional information regarding University regulations and the handling of plagiarism.
Feb 2 or 9
Feb 16 or 23
Mar 1 or 8
Schedule of Meetings and Assignments:
Tuesday, January 24
Introduction to the Enlightenment
Thursday, January 26
Selection of Assigned Readings
Discussion of Assignments
Thursday, February 2
PRESENTATIONS—Prose/Philosophy (GROUP 1)
Thursday, February 9
PRESENTATIONS—Prose/Philosophy (GROUP 2)
Thursday, February 16
PRESENTATIONS—Fiction/Drama (GROUP 1)
Thursday, February 23
PRESENTATIONS—Fiction/Drama (GROUP 2)
Thursday, March 1
PRESENTATIONS—Poetry (GROUP 1)
Thursday, March 8
PRESENTATIONS—Poetry (GROUP 2)
Options for assigned readings:
2. Mary Astell
4. Edmund Burke
5. Catharine Trotter Cockburn
7. Rene Descartes
10. Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet-Laumont
12. Thomas Hobbes
13. David Hume
14. Thomas Jefferson
15. Immanuel Kant
17. John Locke
19. Alexander Pope
21. Baruch Spinoza
22. Mary Wollstonecraft
23. Jonathan Swift
25. Alexander Baumgarten
26. Adam Smith
27. Francis Bacon
28. Moses Mendelssohn
29. Jeremy Bentham
30. Giambattista Vico
1. Eliza Haywood (Love in Excess)
2. John Dryden (All for Love)
3. William Wycherly (The Country Wife)
4. William Wycherly (The Plain Dealer)
5. John Gay (The Beggar’s Opera)
6. Oliver Goldsmith (She Stoops to Conquer)
7. Oliver Goldsmith (The Vicar of Wakefield)
8. Frances Burney (Evelina, or The History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World)
9. William Congreve (The Way of the World)
10. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust)
11. Voltaire (Candide)
12. George Farquhar (The Beaux Stratagem)
13. Richard Sheridan (The School for Scandal)
14. Richard Steele (The Tender Husband)
15. Samuel Richardson (Clarissa)
16. Lawrence Sterne (Tristram Shandy)
17. Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe)
18. Daniel Defoe (Moll Flanders)
19. Tobias Smollett (The Adventures of Roderick Random)
20. Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels)
21. Henry Fielding (Tom Jones)
22. Horace Walpole (The Castle of Otranto)
23. William Godwin (Things as They Are, or Caleb Williams)
24. Charles Brockden Brown (Wieland)
25. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
26. Royall Tyler (The Contrast)
27. Nicholas Rowen (The Fair Penitent)
28. Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho)
29. Moliere (Tartuffe)
1. An Account of the Greatest English Poets - by Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
2. Azolan - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
3. The Castle on the Mountain - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
4. The Dance of the Dead - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
5. An Elegy on a Lap-dog - by John Gay (1685-1732)
6. The Fisherman - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
7. From Love to Friendship - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
8. The Glove - by Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)
9. Hymn - by Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
10. In Camp Before Philippsburg, July 3, 1734 - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
11. The Man and the Flea - by John Gay (1685-1732)
12. The Modern Amadis - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
13. On the Death of Adrienne Lecouvreur, a Celebrated Actress - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
14. The Origin of Trades - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
15. The Padlock - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
16. A Portrait - by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
17. The Reunion - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
18. The Ring of Polycrates - by Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)
19. The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
20. Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Ey'd Susan - by John Gay (1685-1732)
21. The Temple of Friendship - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
22. Thelema and Macareus - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
23. To a Lady Very Well Known to the Whole Town - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
24. To Her Royal Highness, the Princess of *** - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
25. To Luna - by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
26. To Mr. Dryden - by Joseph Addison (1672-1719)
27. To the Queen of Hungary - by Voltaire (1694-1778)
“Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is
Pope, Essay on Man (37-38)
“True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and nothing but what is necessary”--La Rochefoucauld
“Because I wished to give myself entirely to search after Truth, it was necessary . . . to reject as absolutely false everything as to which I could imagine the least ground of doubt.” Descartes (81)
“Cogito, ergo sum.” (the thinking subject)
Empiricism and John Locke’s Tabula Rasa (blank slate): “Let us assume the mind to be . . . void of all characters, without any ideas”
“All ideas comes from sensation or reflection. . . . We have nothing in our minds, which does not come in one of these two ways”
a. Inductive reasoning: building from the observation of particular evidence to a general thesis or conclusion. From specific to general (Bacon)
b. Deductive Reasoning: testing a thesis through reference
to particular evidence. From general to specific (Descartes)
Deism, or Natural Religion
God as “the master mechanic [or watch-maker] who had created the universe, then stepped aside and allowed his World-Machine to run unattended” (82).
Literary Genres of the Enlightenment or the Augustan Age
Didactic literature: emphasis on appealing to common sense and reason and to a growing and newly literate middle class. The virtues of this literature are clarity, brevity, order, symmetry, verisimilitude, and following Classical, especially Roman (hence the descriptor “Augustan”), literary models; characteristics (“vices”) opposed by Neoclassical literature include extravagance, obscurity, elaborate wordplay, fantasy, sensuality, emotionalism.
Heroic couplets and maxims (“Brevity is the soul of wit”)
The journalistic essay; the encyclopedia; the dictionary
The Age of Satire
Culture and Society (Monarchy (“divine right of kings”),
The Age of Satire: “Satire is a literary art that censures human wickedness or folly” (Dr. Johnson)
Sir Philip Sidney: “Satire is an imitation of the common
errors of life, which the artist represents in the most scornful and ridiculous
sort that may be, so as it is impossible that any beholder can be content to be
such an one.”
Types of satire
1. The Horation or Sociocentric: while criticizing human behavior, this type of satire offers an ideal of right conduct (or “satiric norm”) against which to measure its criticism. It optimistically suggests human beings can improve their conduct and amend their ways.
2. The Juvenalian or Egocentric: a harsh form of satire that viciously attacks human degeneracy and reflects little or no confidence that human beings can change their evil ways. In other words, the reader has a hard time seeing any satiric norm.
Methods of Analysis
1. What areas of human behavior are satirized? Be specific and give examples.
2. Horation or Juvenalian? Define the satiric norm if you can see one and who or what represents it (it may be implicit, not defined specifically in the work with a concrete example but still available through your interpretation).
3. How reliable is the point of view? Can you trust the narrator (the person telling the story) if there is one, especially that narrator's definition of the satiric norm? Or is that narrator, ironically, part of the satiric subject?
Introduction to the Eighteenth Century
The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1785)
Many scholars think of it as properly three discrete literary eras: the Restoration (1660-1700), dominated by Dryden; the Age of Satire (1700-1745), dominated by Swift and Pope; and the Age of Johnson (1745-1790), dominated not only by Johnson but by a new kind of poetry and a major new literary form, the novel. n the era of the Restoration, Dryden’s occasional verse, comedy, blank verse tragedy, heroic play, ode, satire, translation, and critical essay and both his example and his precepts had great influence. In the Age of Satire, the literature is chiefly a literature of wit, concerned with civilization and social relationships, and consequently, it is critical and in some degree moral or satiric. Some of the finest works of this period are mock heroic or humorous burlesques of serious classic or modern modes.
A morbid fascination with death, suicide, and the grave preoccupies the poets of mid-century. In the typical Gothic romance, set amid the glooms and intricacies of a medireview castle, the laws of nightmare replace the laws of probability. Forbidden themes—incest, murder, necrophilia, atheism, and the torments of sexual desire—are allowed free play; repressed feelings, morbid fears rise to the surface of the narrative. The modern novel came into existence in this century. To a large extent, the development of the novel is identical with the attempt to interest the growing number of female readers by shaping their lives into literature.
There are two distinctive periods in the literary styles and tastes of the 18th century. The first half of the century is ruled by the great satirists, the second half by the marked development and popularization of the new form of literature, the novel.
The Age of Satire
Philosophers call the 18th century “The Age of Reason,” for
people believed that through Reason, Man could reach perfection. If Man
could, his world could as well, and for this reason satire (literary work in
which vice and folly are held up to ridicule in an attempt to bring about
change) becomes one of the dominant literary styles. Wit remained highly
valued, as well, so the best writers of this period combined satire with biting
wit. The leading writers of this time are: Jonathan Swift,
Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, Sir Richard Steele, John Arbuthnot, Delarivier
Manley, John Gay (playwright), Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding. This age lasted
from around 1704 until roughly 1744-45, the years Swift and Pope died.
Essays became popular reading in this century. People read to improve their Reason, and the “Reasoned” form of the essay appealed to them. After the major essayists of the beginning of the century stopped writing (Swift, Addison, Steele, Defoe, Manley), they were replaced by Samuel Johnson, considered the greatest essayist of the day, and his follower, Joseph Boswell. Many other writers were working, of course, but these are the major names.
“In 1791 the bookseller James Lackington commented: “There
are some thousands of women who frequent my shop, that know as well what books
to choose, and are as well acquainted with works of taste and genius, as any
gentleman in the kingdom, notwithstanding they sneer against novel readers”
(Jane Austin in Style. Susan Watkins.
After the end of the Restoration period (around 1714, when the last Stuart monarch, Anne, died and the German ruling family, the Hanovers, took over in the form of George I), the stage in England becomes a pretty dismal place, and for the most part remains that way until the late 19th century. Plays were no longer a major literary form. After the death of Pope and Swift, poetry is no longer the preferred form and the prose works of this period are much stronger. But there are a few important names: Oliver Goldsmith (poems and plays), Richard Brinsley Sheridan (plays), Thomas Gray, William Collins, Christopher Smart, William Cowper.
This trend begins in the beginning of the 18th century and develops through the century until it became so exaggerated that Jane Austen mildly satirizes it in her novel Sense and Sensibility (1811). What is it? Reduced to very simple terms, it is a reliance on feeling, on emotion, and is often linked with “sentimental” writing, which is characterized by its high moral tone and its faith in the triumph of good over evil.
Tends to try to construct a world system from a priori reasoning as opposed to bits and pieces observation (i.e. empiricism). It is not just being reasonable; it is making reason everything.
Rene Descartes (1591-1650, French): aimed to try to build knowledge from scratch
Discourse on Method (1637): emphasized deduction; tried to doubt everything as a methodoligical tool; je pense, donc je suis, cogito ergo sum.
Believes you can prove existence of God based on idea of perfection implying existence
Claims men have innate ideas and these enable man to make certain statements and deductions. Since God is perfect and good, you can trust the evidence of the senses, allowing for scientific knowledge.
Dualism: distinction between mind and body. The world is made of two incompatible substances (mind and matter)
Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677, Dutch Jewish): Everything is God, God is everything
Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716, German): proposed a world of infinite things
Empiricist Tradition: All knowledge is derived from experience.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626, English): forerunner of empiricism school
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679, English): keen awareness of observed human behavior
John Locke (1632-1704, English): contributed concept of epistemology (science of how we know what we know). Held that all knowledge comes from sense impressions made on the mind at birth (tabula rasa, blank slate). Linked to scientific idea of induction. You never have certain knowledge, just highly probable knowledge.
“Essay Concerning Human Understanding” (1690)
“Two Treatises of Government” (1690)
David Hume (1711-1761, Scottish):
“Treatise on Human Nature” (1739)
“An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding” (1748)
“Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion” (1777)
If you propose that the mind is born with no innate way of making sense of the world, there’s a problem as to how you can know that the sense it does make accords with reality. Hume ends with extreme skepticism that anything can be known at all, including God.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804, German): dealt with problems and issues raised by both empiricists and rationalists. Proposed categorical imperative: do what you wish to be a universal law.
Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1778, French)
The Neoclassical Penchant for the Aphoristic
("True eloquence consists in saying all that is
necessary, and nothing but what is necessary"--La Rochefoucauld)
I. Heroic Couplets from Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
Let such teach others who themselves excel,
And censure freely who have written well.
Nature to all things fixed the limits fit,
And wisely curbed proud man's pretending wit.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
True wit is nature to advantage dressed,
What oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those who move easiest who have learned to dance.
Avoid extremes; and shun the fault of such
Who still are pleased too little or too much.
Good nature and good sense must ever join;
To err is human, to forgive divine.
All seems infected that the infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
--from an "Essay on Criticism" (1711)
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of Mankind is
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
And, spite of pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
II. Maxims of La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
(also see page 76 of our text)
1. Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old
to set a bad example.
2. We all of us have sufficient strength to bear the
misfortunes of others.
3. It requires greater virtue to support good, than bad
4. If we had no faults ourselves, we should not take so much
pleasure in remarking them in others.
5. Those who spend too much time on trifling things
generally become incapable of great ones.
6. We promise according to our hopes and perform according
to our fears.
7. Truth does not so much good in the world as its
appearances do evil.
8. Hypocrisy is the homage which vice renders to virtue.
9. Grace is to the body what good sense is to the mind.
10.. It is with true love as with ghosts. Everyone talks of
it, but few have ever seen it.
11. Silence is the best course for any man to adopt who
12. How can we expect another to keep our secret if we
cannot keep it ourselves?
13. We should have very little pleasure if we did not
sometimes flatter ourselves.
14. It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.
15. We seldom praise but to be praised.
16. The world more often rewards the appearance of merit
than merit itself.
17. Our repentance is not so much regret for the evil we
have done, as fear of its consequences to us.
18. A truly virtuous man is he who prides himself on
19. As we grow older, we become more foolish and more wise.
20. In the adversity of our best friends, we often find
something which does not displease us.
21. It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's
22. Narrowness of mind is the cause of stubbornness--we do
not easily believe what is beyond our sight.
23. We like to judge others, but we do not like to be judged
24. We always love those who admire us, ane we do not always
love those whom we admire.
25. We often pardon those who weary us, but we cannot pardon
those whom we weary.
26. Weak persons cannot be sincere.
27. We confess our little faults only to persuade others
that we have no great ones.
28. When our hatred is too keen, it places us below those we
29. We think very few people sensible except those who are
of our opinion.
30. There are few people more often n the wrong than those
who cannot endure to be so.
31. We are sometimes less unhappy in being deceived by those
we love than in being undeceived by them.
32. The greatest gift of friendship is not to show our own
faults, but to make him see his own.
33. We easily pardon in our friends those faults which do
not concern ourselves.
34. Quarrels would not last long, if the fault was only on
35. When we cannot find contentment in ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
Small Group Assignment
Writing Assignment: Due Feb. 8 (I will deduct one grade from papers submitted late and will accept no papers submitted later than two days after the due date.)
1. Discuss three maxims or couplets as representative of
Neoclassical or Enlightenment ideals or concerns (see page 76 and chapter 24).
You can choose three and write a paragraph on each or bring together three
related ones and write a brief essay.
2. Choose one or two of the sayings and, through examples
and illustrations, discuss the truth of it in terms of your experience or
understanding. (this one need not address issues in the course).
3. Group a number of sayings around some theme they seem to
share (for example, human vanity, appearance vs. reality, human limitations,
how what is best in us is so closely related to what is worst in us). Discuss
in a short essay the logic of your grouping and what it reveals about the theme
4. Write five of your own couplets and discuss in a
paragraph what you have learned from doing so and/or what led you to make such
Two of Blake’s six siblings died in their infancy
Blake spoke during his childhood of having visions
1761—at four, he saw God “put his head to the window.”
1766—at nine, he saw a tree filled with angels
1769—at 12, Blake began writing poetry
1787—at 30, Blake’s brother Robert fell ill and died during the summer. Robert had taught Blake the printing method used for his collections of Songs.
1783—wrote Poetical Sketches (imitative but visionary lyrics)
1789—opened his printer’s and engraver’s shop;
published Songs of Innocence
1790—published The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
1794—published Songs of Experience
· In revolt of 18th Century Neoclassicism, Blake’s Romanticism privileged imagination over reason: “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s.”
· He sensed the aliveness of nature, the outer physical form of an inner motion of the spirit.
· He believed Nature and the soul are one, that what we perceive as “natural” is actually the “spiritual” made real to our senses.
· He and other Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth and John Keats entered into nature not to examine it or praise it but to express it and feel it.
· During the Romantic period (1798-1832) these poets entertained no illusions of a perfect natural world; they placed emphasis on the individual and the sacredness of an individual’s artistic tastes.
Sources of Blake’s
inspiration: Bible; mystical and theological teachings; Poetry of William
Shakespeare and John Milton; noble monuments and interior arches of
· Most critics interpret Songs of Innocence in a straightforward fashion, considering it primarily a children’s book, but others find hints at parody or critique in its seemingly naïve and simple lyrics.
· Blake’s romantic departure from Neoclassicism is evidenced by his ease of expression over formality.
· Blake’s writing proves tenderly and thoroughly humanitarian, richly symbolic and mystical.