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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2014 Eighteenth-Century Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 300


Module manager: Professor David Fairer

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

Please note: This module is restricted to Level 2 and 3 students.

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

In the eighteenth century the 'literary' was a much wider concept than it is today, and this module introduces you to a variety of fascinating material that includes the novel (Defoe's Moll Flanders and Frances Burney's Evelina), comic drama (Sheridan's The Rivals), and poetry (by women as well as men), but also features the familiar letter (public and private), the periodical essay (The Spectator and The Female Spectator), satiric engraving (Hogarth's A Harlot's Progress), and musical comedy (Gay's The Beggar's Opera). Brought thoughtfully together, these texts encourage you to explore a wealth of ideas in which the expressive power of words is being exploited to the full. At this period language is a sharp and polished tool for engaging with the world in which you live, and it is one of vivid contrasts. Visual and verbal languages interact with each other; the polite and beautiful jostles with the vulgar and shocking; sentimental love confronts satiric comedy; the sublime powers of nature co-exist with the life of the London street. This module continues to be popular with students who enjoy debating ideas and who delight in the potential of language to explore, argue and imagine.


On completing this module, students will have had the opportunity to develop their knowledge of and, it is hoped, their critical enthusiasm for, literature 1700-1790, by reading a wide range of texts from the period. During the eighteenth century, the 'literary' was a less restricted category than it later became, and students will be encouraged to reflect on the implications of this by reading fiction, poetry and drama alongside examples from a variety of other genres. Through this reading, through engagement with some of the major debates of the period (such as the relationships between the individual and society/nation, subjective experience and objective value, aesthetics and morality, sentiment and satire), and through written assignments, they will be encouraged to develop their critical vocabulary and analytical skills.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
- the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
- the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
- the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
- the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
- critical reasoning;
- research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
- IT skills;
- efficient time management and organisation skills;
- the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


A selection of texts across a range of genres from the period 1700-1790.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to seminars.

Unassessed assignment.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

One unassessed essay of approximately 1700 words (including quotations and footnotes) is required, for which the deadline is given in the Undergraduate Student Handbook. This does not form part of the examination for this module, but is a module requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 06/08/2008


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