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Study information

Satire and the City: English Literature 1660-1750

Module titleSatire and the City: English Literature 1660-1750
Module codeEAS2102
Academic year2024/5
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

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 Europe 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. This module offers an in-depth look at the writing of this period.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The long eighteenth century is a key period in British history and literature, when many of the cultural productions that inform our contemporary modernity – the novel, the periodical, the marketplace for a new, expanded print culture – emerged and started to take shape. 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.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an informed appreciation of specific literary texts and authors from the period 1660 to 1750
  • 2. Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the literary history of the period
  • 3. Demonstrate an informed appreciation of the relationship between politics, culture, and literature in the period

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to analyse the literature of an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context
  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Through module work, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 8. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 9. Through research for module work and essays, demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The module starts by looking at the restoration of Charles II after the Cromwellian interregnum, analysing the dramatic cultural and political changes of the period, as well as the interrogation of the new freedoms of libertinism in the drama of George Etherege’s The Man of Mode (1676), Aphra Behn’s The Rover (1677), and the poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. The increasing importance of commerce and politeness is reflected in Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s The Spectator (1711-12), while the combative print culture of the period and the battle between Ancients and Moderns is considered by looking at writers such as Jonathan Swift. John Gay’s Trivia (1716) interrogates the increasingly complex urban spaces of London, while the poetry of Swift, Anne Finch and Mary Wortley Montagu debate issues of gender and the status of female authors. Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722) and Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728) suggest both the interest in a growing criminal underworld as well as the way writers of the period negotiate new cultural forms such as the novel, with Alexander Pope making his own intervention in the world of Grub Street in his mock-heroic The Dunciad (1728-43). The course considers the importance of the emergence of the novel, and looks at the satirical prints of the period, such as Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress and Marriage A-la-Mode. These are indicative texts, and may change.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Text-based lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Contextual lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Seminars
Guided Independent Study33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided Independent Study70Seminar preparation (individual)
Guided Independent Study158Reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1000 words1-6, 8-9Feedback from tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay402000 words1-6, 8-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Essay502500 words1-6, 8-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Module participation10Continuous 1-9Oral feedback with opportunity for office hours follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2000 words)1-6, 8-9Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay (2500 words)1-6, 8-9Referral/Deferral period
Module participationRepeat Study or mitigation1-9N/a

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Scott McMillin (ed.), Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy (Norton Critical Editions), 2nd ed. (1997)
  • Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (ed.) David Blewett (Penguin, 1989)

Secondary Reading:

  • Tom Keymer and Jon Mee (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1740-1830 (Cambridge, 2004)
  • Henry Power, Epic into Novel: Henry Fielding, Scriblerian Satire, and the Consumption of Classical Literature (Oxford, 2015)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

English, Literature, Restoration, Eighteenth Century, Satire, City

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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