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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2005

E 379N • The Erotic Eighteenth Century- HONORS

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32485 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 208

Course Description

Restricted to Students in the English Honors Program

The literature of eighteenth-century Britain, a period associated with the austere morality and highhanded pedagogy of Samuel Johnson and the Richardsonian novel, was also unabashedly expressive about erotic desire and bodily functions—from prostitution to flatulence. In spite of their high literary claims and their ambition to instruct a young reading public, many of the age’s mainstream texts, particularly the emerging novel, are devoted to stories concerned with physicality and sexuality. We will examine the works of canonical authors (Johnson, Swift, Defoe, Fielding) aside lesser-known or anonymous material with an eye to their (often surprising) erotic content, in order to explore Enlightenment attitudes towards sexuality, individuality, and economics.

Grading Policy

3 close-reading essays (2 pp each) 10% each
1 research essay (10 pp) 30%
Participation 20%
Class presentation 20%


Possible texts:
Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (1719)
Anonymous pamphlet, Arse Musica (1722)
Anonymous pamphlet, A Short Narrative of an Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbets (1726/7)
Jonathan Swifts’ dressing table poems (1730-1)
Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722)
Daniel Defoe, Roxana (1724)
William Hogarth’s Harlot’s Progress (1732) and Rake's Progress (1735)
Anonymous poem, Harlot’s Progress (1732)
Samuel Johnson, Life of Savage (1744)
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (1749)
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1759-67)


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