Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


English 224. Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Characterized by scientific progress, the growth of global commerce, and the rapid expansion of empire, the British eighteenth century was an era of unprecedented internationalism. In this course, we will examine the “rise of the novel” – that literary form which emerged and grew to prominence in the 700s – within this broader historical context. Reading authors such as Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen, in addition to a selection of poetry, plays, and nonfiction prose, we will not only consider how British encounters with the people, cultures, and ideas of the world shaped the novel’s form and thematic concerns. We will also examine how eighteenth-century writers helped construct a distinct British national identity, even as they sought to identify the similarities that united Britons with the larger “universal family of mankind.”