English 5/4385—Special Topics   [PDF]

Amatory Fiction and the Novel

Course Objectives:

One of the more traditional ways to understand the development of the novel as a genre has been through the novel’s solidification and glorification of middle-class values and the hypergamous marriage, ideals epitomized by Richardson’s Pamela.  However, several critics have argued that Richardson’s novel was a reaction to a genre called Amatory Fiction, works where desiring women fall prey to seducers and must negotiate a life outside the bounds of such economic and marital restraints.  This course offers an alternative discourse of the novel.  By reading amatory authors such as Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, and Eliza Haywood (among others), we will examine how the 18th-century novel is a discussion of the boundaries between licit and illicit forms of feminine sexual desire.

Course Goals Set by Department:

Students will understand that the study of literature and language can transcend the boundaries established by the fixed curriculum.

Students will demonstrate in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convincing and well-supported analysis of related material.

Students will demonstrate their command of academic English and the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose.

Students will learn to use discipline-specific computer technologies related to the study of language such as listservs, word processing, and internet research.

Required Texts:

Popular Fiction by Women 1660-1730: An Anthology edited by Paula Backscheider and John Richetti

Love in Excess by Eliza Haywood (Broadview edition)

Pamela by Samuel Richardson (Oxford edition)

Anti-Pamela by Eliza Haywood (Broadview edition)

The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless by Eliza Haywood (Broadview edition)

Electronic Course Reserves: The Fair Jilt (Behn); The Wife’s Resentment (Manely); The City Jilt (Haywood)

Recommended Texts:

A Pocket Style Manual, fifth edition by Diana Hacker

Writing About Literature: A Portable Guide by Janet E. Gardner 

Grading Breakdown

20% Attendance and participation

20% Analytical Response Paper 1

20% Analytical Response Paper 2

40% Project and presentation

Unit 1: Libertinism and Early Fiction

Aphra Behn The Fair Jilt

Eliza Haywood Fantomina

Unit 2: Amatory Fiction and the Revenge Plot

Aphra Behn The History of the Nun

Delarivier Manley The Wife’s Resentment

Eliza Haywood The City Jilt

Eliza Haywood “The Lady’s Revenge”

Unit 3: Regulatory Behavior and Early Fiction

Eliza Haywood The British Recluse

Jane Barker Love Intrigues

Eliza Haywood Love in Excess

Mary Davys The Reformed Coquette

Unit 4: Amatory Fiction and The Rise of the Novel

Samuel Richardson Pamela

Eliza Haywood Anti-Pamela

Eliza Haywood The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless