The 'Long' Eighteenth Century



Zeit/Ort n.V.


  • BA English and American Studies: Hauptmodul A (301) Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul II) - HA
  • Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien: Hauptmodul L-GYM Literature. (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul Literature) - HA (80 %)
  • MA English Studies: Core Module: Literature (module 4051, exam 40511: Written assignment (15 pages, 80%) and handout (2-3 pages, 20%))
  • MA English Studies: Master Module II: Literature (module 8360, exam 83601: Written assignment (15 pages, 80%) and handout (2-3pages, 20%))
  • MA Literaturstudien - intermedial und interkulturell: Modul 4


"A great attraction of [eighteenth-century] literature is that it was written in a time when people thought literature and printed texts mattered and actually impacted the world and the people around them" (Paula Backscheider, "The Futures of Eighteenth-Century Studies"). This seminar is going to focus on the multiple ways English literature attempted to negotiate the rapid changes in eighteenth-century society: Enlightenment philosophers privileging both reason and the individual thus challenged traditional notions of ethics and morality; satirists fiercely attacked inequalities and foibles of the upper class, culminating in Jonathan Swift's |Modest Proposal| to end poverty in Ireland by selling farmers' children as food to wealthy landowners; essayists publishing their intellectual meanderings in periodicals, such as the |Tatler|, the |Spectator|, or the |Female Spectator|, enabled a greater part of the population to increase their knowledge than ever before. The novel, today the most popular literary genre, was born in the eighteenth century, offering not only plots which were close to actual experience, but also expanding readership to those excluded from formal education: women. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the Romantics began to question the reduction of the individual to reason, emphasizing the emotional component of the human mind, to be expanded by the experience of nature. Oriental and Gothic tales responded to their readers' longing for exotic landscapes, serving as an escape route from urban life. By engaging actively with a variety of eighteenth-century texts, you are going to be able to relate this fascinating literary period to those genres still popular today and to recognize the contribution of Enlightenment and Romantic thought to social and political structures in European democracies to the present.

Zusätzliche Informationen

Erwartete Teilnehmerzahl: 15