English | Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Literature
L320 | 1890 | Nash


11:15a-12:30p TR (30) 3 cr.

TOPIC: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY 'PUBLIC SPHERE'?"

This course will take as its starting point Jurgen Habermas's THE
STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE PUBLIC
SPHERE. Beginning with his observation that in England at the
end of the seventeenth- and the beginning of the eighteenth-
centuries there opened up a discursive space mediating between the
private citizen and state authorities, we will examine the roles
played by literature in shaping, changing, and resisting the ideas of
'public-ness' and publicity that we more or less take for granted
today. While we may glance back to some of the later works of the
Restoration, our emphasis will fall heavily on the early eighteenth
century--most heavily on the consolidation of the Walpole
administration immediately preceding and following the death of
George I and the succession of George II. As this narrative
suggests, we will be insistent in reading literature in its historical
context. Authors will include Pope, Swift, Gay, Arbuthnot, and
Defoe, and may include Dryden, Otway, Rochester, Behn,
Wortley-Montague, Finch, Hogarth, or Fielding, among others.
Students will write one short (3-5 page) and one longer (6-10 page)
paper, and may be asked to lead class discussion.