The Eighteenth Century is often described as an age of enlightened reason. This subject will examine literary texts that explore areas of life that exist in tense opposition to the ideals of enlightenment rationality, such as slavery; sentimentality; luxury; superstition; madness; revolution; and genocide.




We will meet twice a week, for a 2 hour lecture, and an hour-long small group tutorial. There is also an ongoing Moodle forum for information and discussion, where students can share their views and questions with each other and with the course teacher. Important supplementary material will also be posted on the Moodle. There is thus a substantial interactive element to this course. And of course students are encouraged to also consult the course teacher/ tutor in regular office hours or by appointment.




Course assessment is 100% coursework comprising one short essay (20%); one annotated bibliography (20%); one research paper (50%); participation (10%)

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.  



Texts for purchase

Core Texts:

Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688)
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa (1789)

An additional course reader containing critical scholarship, as well as excerpts from Alexander Pope, William Cowper, John Gay, Joseph Addison; Richard Steele; Samuel Johnson; John Cleland; and Edmund Burke will also be available.



Last updated: 11 March 2019