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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2026 Restoration and Eighteenth Century Writing

20 creditsClass Size: 110

School of English

Module manager: Dr Richard de Ritter

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

ENGL2027 Eighteenth Century Literature

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines some of the exciting developments in literature that occurred between the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until the end of the eighteenth century. The period saw the flourishing of comedy on the Restoration stage, the emergence of the English novel, and the publication of poetry that combined imaginative exploration with social commentary. As writers fashioned new modes of expression, culture changed rapidly too: commerce and the empire expanded, as did the ports and cities. The country seemed transformed, both for better and worse. We will investigate the significance of these literary innovations, considering them in relation to their historical, cultural and critical contexts. While the eighteenth century has often been labelled an age of reason, its literature bears witness to a more troubled and unpredictable understanding of the world. We will explore how writers harnessed their imagination and wit to respond to a range of concerns, including Britain’s imperial power (and its limits), the politics of gender, race and class, and human interactions with the natural world.


This module provides the opportunity to study a diverse range of writing from the Restoration in 1660 to the end of the eighteenth century. Primary texts will be considered within the historical, social and intellectual contexts in which they were produced and in relation to a range of critical and theoretical perspectives. Students will develop their critical and analytical skills in both verbal and written contexts.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have provided evidence of being able to:
- Understand and recognise the range of literary forms and genres that emerged in this period
- Understand the relationship between primary texts and some of the key contexts in which they were produced (British colonialism; the expansion of trade; shifting conceptualisations of identity, etc.)
- Consider the literature of this period in relation to contemporary concerns and theoretical perspectives
- Analyse texts, synthesizing critical perspectives and forming independent critical responses and arguments
- Confidently communicate sophisticated ideas in an effective and persuasive way, both orally and in writing
- Demonstrate research skills, including information retrieval, the organization of complex materials and the evaluation of the importance of research


This module will explore a diverse and exciting range of writing from the Restoration of the monarchy to the end of the eighteenth century. It will be organised according to three key areas (which may change according to the knowledge and skills of the teaching team). Indicative areas include: race, nation and identity; sexuality, desire and marriage; human and non-human subjectivities. Each key area will be introduced and discussed in several lectures. In seminars, critical works relating to each key area will be set alongside primary texts. Group discussion will enable students to develop their understanding of how different critical approaches can complicate and deepen their responses to the writing produced in this period. Students will communicate their own critical responses in seminar discussions and their assessed work.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to devote 168 hours of private study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
- Reading, research, preparation and follow-up for lectures and seminars: (10 x 9=) 90 hours
- Preparation for essay 1: 26 hours
- Preparation for essay 2: 52 hours

Private study is expected to include:
- Reading of required and/or recommended primary and secondary materials
- Note-taking and formulating responses to seminar preparation
- Researching additional primary and secondary materials
- Planning and drafting of essays

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500 word essay33.30
Essay2500 word essay66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 17/10/2022


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