Satire and the City: English Literature 1660-1750 (EAS2102)

30 credits

The period 1660 to 1750 was politically and culturally tumultuous. The Stuart dynasty was restored to the throne, and then deposed again. London expanded massively, becoming the largest city in the world and a centre for financial and criminal activity. The theatres - closed during the civil war and interregnum – reopened, and actresses appeared on the English stage for the first time. The spread of literacy and growth of the press led to the emergence of many new literary genres - above all the periodical and the novel – and of the first professional authors, many of whom were women. Satire and polemical writing flourished in the period, as writers reacted against (or celebrated) these seismic shifts.

You will read a broad range of texts, drawn equally from the poetry, prose and drama of the period and learn to identify how these relate to the revolutionary times in which they were written.