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    Otterbein University
  Dec 15, 2017
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

INST 3525 - A Sermon and A Striptease: 18th Century British Literature

Hours: 4
This course will sample the lively range of literary forms and themes in 18th-century Britain.  We’ll explore at least one literary revolution in the growth of the British novel. Mapping the novel’s rise from scandal to respectability, we’ll identify its transformative literary traits:  narrative immediacy, ordinary events, private experience, and readerly empathy and vicariousness.  Frequently we’ll notice the dual tendency in 18th-century texts to both instruct and titillate (as our course title, borrowed from critic Ian Watt, suggests).  We’ll read in a range of literary genres that feel alien (and often outrageous): satire, amatory fiction, travel narrative, graveyard poems, popular periodicals, true crime, ballad opera, verse epistle, and the gothic.  The course will emphasize literary responses to historical and cultural events, particularly Britain’s New World contacts and the growth of empire and the transatlantic slave trade.  We’ll ask how literary texts both shape and sometimes resist narratives of national identity.