Romanticism, Feminism, Revolution   [PDF]

English 5/4385— Literature and Culture of the Restoration

[Designed for a 7 week, intensive “Summer” Course/Subject]

Course Objectives:

Charles II’s return to England and to the kingship in 1660 marked a distinctly new era for literature and culture in England.  The arts, which had flourished under Elizabeth’s rule and shrunk during the Interregnum, now resurged rife with French influences, talented native writers, and fantastic energy.  Distinctly separate from the eighteenth century under the Hanovers, literature and culture under the restored Stuarts had an energy, bawdiness, and tenor all its own.  This course examines the playhouses, coffeehouses, and coteries of the Stuart Restoration to set the stage for changes in arts, sciences, and culture in a distinctly pre-Enlightenment mode.  The readings are situated within broader cultural and critical contexts, with lectures and readings of some the main literary critical lenses of the Restoration: libertinism, performance theory, the public/private binary, and gender constructs.  From Samuel Pepys’ account of Charles’ trip across the channel to early eighteenth-century periodicals (roughly 1660-1700), this course examines the plays, poems, and prose of an ostentatious, sexy, and vivacious time in London.

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.


  • Behn, Aphra Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works (recommended, not required)
  • Hammond, Paul, ed.    Restoration Literature: An Anthology
  • McMillin, Scott, ed. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy 
  • A grammar and style manual (such as A Writer’s Resource)

Grading Breakdown

  • 10% Attendance and Participation
  • 10% Homework, possible quizzes
  • 20% Analytical Response Paper 1
  • 20% Analytical Response Paper 2
  • 10% Group Project
  • 30% Final Exam (or Project)

Tentative Reading Schedule

  • B: Behn Anthology (not required)
  • D: Docutek
  • N: Norton Anthology
  • R: Restoration Literature

Unit 1: History and Cultural Context

Week 1:           Restoration Literature: 2-Clarendon, 3-Pepys, 4-Evelyn, 5-Dryden, 7-Rochester, 10-Evelyn (R)

                        Restoration Literature: 21-Pepys, 22-Dryden, 45-Sprat, 83-Rochester

                        Behn, The Fair Jilt

                        Paper # 1 due

Unit 2: The Theater

Week 2:           Pepys and the Theater (D)

                        “Ten Prologues and Epilogues” (R)

                        Hobbes (457-61) and Congreve (474-80) (N)

                        Avery and Scouten (535-41) (N)

                        Group Presentation

Week 3:           Man of Mode (N)

                        Steele (517-9) and Dennis (525-9) (N)

                        Group Presentation

                        Paper #2 due

Week 4:           The Country Wife (N)

                        Howe  (541-8) (N)

                        Group Presentation

Paper #3 due

Unit 3: Sexuality and Gender

Week 5:           The Rover (B/N)

                        Paper #4 due

Week 6:           Restoration Literature:  54, 61-Rochester, 65-Pepys (R)

                        Behn-“The Disappointment” (R) “On Desire” (B/D) “Golden Age” (D)

                        Restoration Literature: 47-Barker; 48, 49, 50-Phillips; 68-Anon.(R)

                        Behn-“To the Fair Clarinda” (B/D); Finch Poems (D)

Week 7:           FINAL EXAM 12:30-2:30pm (or final paper due noon)