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Sample Syllabus: 18th/19th British Lit


Let us, since life can little more supply                               Meyers

Than just to look about us and to die,                               English 204

Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man                               

(Or at least English Lit. in the 18th and 19th C.)

Wait, wait …. does that rhyme?                                               

                        --A. Pope (more or less)



Required texts:

Stephen Greenblatt et al., eds., Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Edition, 8th ed.

Jane Austen. Persuasion (Bantam Books).

Thomas Hardy. Jude the Obscure (Norton, 2nd ed)


Please read the introductions to each age, author, and work. N.B. Plan ahead for  several long reads: Feb. 20 (Persuasion), Feb. 29 (Lycidas, Adonais), Apr. 2 (In Memoriam), Apr. 21 (Jude the Obscure).


W Jan. 16 Introduction


F Jan. 18 Swift: A Modest Proposal (1114-1119); Gulliver's Travels: Part I (974-1016); Johnson: from Rasselas, Chapts. 1, 2, 18 (1221-1225;1245-1246)


M Jan. 21 No Class, Martin Luther King Day


W Jan. 23 Gulliver's Travels: Part I (cont); Gulliver's Travels: Parts III, IV (1056-1113)


F Jan. 25 Gulliver's Travels: Part IV (cont.)


M Jan. 28 Pope: An Essay on Man (1155-1162; A6-A-7 [in the appendices])


W Jan. 30 An Essay on Man (cont.)

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F Feb. 1 An Essay on Criticism (1123-1136); Johnson: from Rasselas, Chapt. 10 (1234-1236)


M Feb. 4 An Essay on Criticism (cont.)


W Feb. 6 Blake: poems (1414-1425)


F Feb. 8 The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1430-1441)


M Feb. 11 Wordsworth: From Lyrical Ballads (1487-1495)


W Feb. 13 Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1495-1507)


F Feb. 15 Resolution and Independence (1533-1537); I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (1537-1538); My Heart Leaps Up (1538)


M Feb. 18 Ode: Intimations of Immortality (1538-1544) PAPER DUE


W Feb. 20 Austen: Persuasion


F Feb. 22 Persuasion (cont)


M Feb. 25 Shelley: Mutability (1734); To Wordsworth (1735) Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1739--1741); Ozymandias (1741)


W Feb. 27 Poems (1741-1743; O World…  (handout; @Blackboard); To ----; choruses from Hellas (handout; @Blackboard) To a Sky-Lark (1769-1771)


F Feb. 29 Milton: Lycidas (705-711); Shelley: Adonais (1772-1785)


M Mar. 3-F Mar. 7 Spring Break


M Mar. 10 Adonais (cont.)


W Mar. 12 A Defence of Poetry (1785-1798)


F Mar. 14 Mid-Term Test


M Mar. 17 Keats: When I have fears (1830); Eve of St. Agnes (1830-1840); La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1840-1842)


W Mar. 19 Odes: To a Nightingale, To a Grecian Urn, On Melancholy (1845-1850)


F Mar. 21 E. B. and R. Browning: Cry of the Children (1922-1925);

from Book 1, Aurora Leigh (1934-1939); My Last Duchess (2058-2059)


M Mar. 24 R. Browning: Fra Lippo Lippi (2070-2078); Andre del Sarto (2078-2084)


W Mar. 26 Tennyson: The Lady of Shalott (1953-1958); The Lotus-Eaters (1958-1962)


F Mar. 28 The Lotus-Eaters (cont.); Ulysses (1962-1964) From The Princess (handout; @blackboard)


M Mar. 31 Locksley Hall (1966-1972) PAPER DUE


W Apr. 2 from In Memoriam (1972-2022)


F Apr. 4 from In Memoriam (cont.)


M Apr. 7 from In Memoriam (cont.)


W Apr. 9 Arnold: Dover Beach (2105-2106); Stanzas (2106-2111); Thyrsis (handout; @Blackboard)


F Apr. 11 Pre-Raphaelite Poets: D. G. Rossetti: selected sonnets from The House of Life (handout; @Blackboard); Swinburne: Garden of Proserpine, Ave atque vale (handout; @Blackboard); C. Rossetti: Goblin Market (2143-2155)

Background: go to and click on the name and then “biography” (Swinburne’s is not entirely accurate)


M Apr. 14 Pre-Raphaelite Poets: (cont)


W Apr. 16 Hopkins: God’s Grandeur (2160); The Windhover (2162); Pied Beauty (2162-2163); Carrion Comfort (2165)


F Apr. 18 Hardy: Hap (2318-2319); The Darkling Thrush (2320-2321); He Never Expected Much (2325); The Impercipient; During Wind and Rain (handout; @Blackboard)


M Apr. 21 Hardy: Neutral Tones (2319); Drummer Hodge (2319-2320); The Convergence of the Twain (2323-2324); A Broken Appointment; I Look Into My Glass;  Rupert Brooke: The Soldier; Wilfred Owen: Dulce et Decorum est (handout; @Blackboard); Hardy: Jude the Obscure


W Apr. 23 Jude the Obscure


F Apr. 25 Jude the Obscure: appendices, pp. 325-337, 339-351; poems, pp. 353-360; PAPER DUE





Exams: Midterm: F Mar. 14


Final: F, May 2, 8:30 a.m.


Papers: due at class time, hardcopy, on M Feb. 18; M Mar. 31; F Apr. 25 (one paper may be handed in up to 3 days late without penalty; other late papers marked down one grade for each day late). Drafts must be handed in (see note below). Topics to come. Use no outside aid or sources.


Course Grade: each paper, 20%; midterm, 15%; final, 25%. Except that grades on pop quizzes may count up to 5% of the course grade, taken proportionately from the weighting of the mid-term and final.


Office Hours: Tucker 123; M 1:30-2:30 p.m., W 1:30-2:30 p.m.; or by appointment.


Phone: ext. 3932; home, 253-0707


E-mail: (I check e-mail frequently)


A Note on Writing Papers: Early in the semester I’ll spend some time reviewing some things you should keep in mind as you write your papers.  But the best advice I can offer is, start early and revise often, in big and little ways.

Revising is so important that I require you to hand in with your final copy at least two of the drafts that preceded it.  I accept drafts in two forms; 1) printouts with revisions and changes drafted in pencil or ink (I highly recommend this approach); 2) an e-mail attachment of a copy of the final form of the paper as drafted in WORD with the “Track Changes” feature engaged; due by 3 p.m. the due date of the paper.

Being able to check how you write and rewrite helps me in marking and evaluating your work.

N.B. Drafting is part of the assignment--papers submitted without evidence of drafts do not completely fulfill the assignment and will be dropped two whole grades.

      For a good and succinct guide to writing papers, see the English Major’s Handbook, available from me (or the English Department office) and online at the Department’s homepage (click on “Undergraduate Program”):


This syllabus and other course materials are (or soon will be) online at the Blackboard site.