Course module - Pox and Plague: Disease and Illness in 18th Century Satire
Code : ENGL31052 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 2
- To examine eighteenth-century satire in a range of different genres;
- To explore how ideas of disease influenced the formal and thematic development of eighteenth-century satiric poems, novels, and histories;
- To analyse the formal and thematic innovations made by eighteenth-century satirists;
- To examine the ways in which eighteenth-century satires interacted with their historical and cultural contexts;
- To engage with selected critical writings on eighteenth-century satire;
- To develop skills of critical thought, speech, and writing in relation to the study of eighteenth-century literature.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Display familiarity with eighteenth-century satires in a variety of genres;
- Discuss how ideas of illness, disease and contagion influenced the development of eighteenth-century satire;
- Identify and explicate some of the changes in formal literary practice that occurred over the course of the long eighteenth century;
- Situate the works of several eighteenth-century satirists within their historical and cultural contexts;
- Summarize and engage with the arguments presented by selected secondary texts;
- Generate thoughtful literary criticism on the course texts and themes;
- Demonstrate skills of critical thinking and analysis through close engagement with a variety sources;
- Demonstrate the ability to construct clear, substantiated and independent written arguments.
Seminar attendance/participation (10%); presentation with handout (10%); one 2,500-word essay (40%); one 2-hour unseen written examination (40%)
The use of dictionaries in the examination is prohibited. This rule applies to all categories of students, including all Visiting Students.
THIS COURSE IS NOT AVAILABLE AS FREE-CHOICE.
For many eighteenth-century writers, satire was understood as a form designed to “cure” various social ills—to “purge” its readers of sicknesses, imagined and real. This course will explore how ideas of illness or disease—pox, plague, gout, consumption, melancholy, hypochrondia—influenced the formal and thematic development of eighteenth-century satires. After examining Dryden’s foundational essay on satire and Defoe’s influential account of the plague, we will survey some of the many illness-themed satires being written and read in the long eighteenth century. We will consider how eighteenth-century satirists used ideas of disease to insult their political rivals, argue ideological points, introduce formal innovations, or effect social change. We will ask such questions as: how did ideas of disease and contagion operate in different eighteenth-century texts? Why was the accusation of sexual disease such a powerful insult for eighteenth-century satirists? How did writers use the rhetoric of disease to effect social change? Why were processes like feeling and learning so often depicted as forms of illness?
Gallagher, Dr Noelle
PROVISIONAL TIMETABLE FOR 2013-2014
Group 1: Wednesday 11-1 AND Friday 11-12
Group 2: Thursday 11-12 AND Friday 1-2
One 2-hour seminar plus one 1-hour textual analysis session per week.
Readings vary from year to year; readings for 2013-14 are likely to include poetry and prose by John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester; John Dryden, A Discourse of Satire (1693); Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) Samuel Garth, The Dispensary (1699); Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub (1704); Tobias Smollett, Humphrey Clinker (1771); William Hogarth, selected prints Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Further details of the course texts for 2013-14 will be made available at a later date.
**PLEASE NOTE that it is extremely important that students taking this course purchase the required editions of the course texts. If you wish to purchase texts before the summer, please contact the instructor to find out about required editions.**