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Impolite Society: British Literature and Culture 1660-1740

This survey of British writing from the Restoration through the early 18th century emphasizes what’s odd and outrageous, both to us and to those who lived through it.  If conventional accounts of this period emphasize political stability and a culture of politeness, we’ll come to appreciate it instead as both unsettled and unsettling.  Readings will include poetry, prose, and drama by John Dryden, John Wilmot (Rochester), Aphra Behn, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, and others, as well as occasional critical essays.  Expect to attend and complete the reading for each session, participate actively, and write two papers.


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Statue of "Willie the Silent"