The Other Eighteenth Century:Women's Poetry and the Canon

LIT 6855, Mondays 6-8 periods (approximately 12:50-3:30) PATRICIA CRADDOCK

Required texts: (available at Goerings Bookstore, University and 13th Street)

NOTE: for links to materials on certain poets, see below. Three of the linked pages were created by students in the course.


NOTE: Whenever a writer is represented in both Lonsdale and Ashfield, you are responsible also for the poems in Ashfield on the date when the poems in Lonsdale are assigned. From at least the eighth week of the course, this double representation will be routinely the case.

Week 1 August 24 Introduction--Features and Genres of 18th Century Poetry. A reference "canon"

Week 2 August 31 The Rediscovery of Women--Discussion of Introductions to Lonsdale and Ashfield; poetry of Aphra Behn


Week 4 September 14: Lonsdale, 1-53, especially Finch, Rowe.

Week 5 September 21: Lonsdale, 54-115, especially Montagu, Centlivre

Week 6 September 28: Lonsdale, 116-78, especially Pilkington, Carter, Collier. Selected Poems by Carter

Week 7 October 5: Lonsdale, 179-239, especially Mary Leapor, Mulso (Chapone) See also Lennox.

Week 8 October 12: Lonsdale, 240-319, especially Barbauld, Seward

Week 9 October 19: Lonsdale, 320-84, especially More, C. Smith

Week 10 October 26: Lonsdale, 385-428, especially Yearsley, H. M. Williams

Week 11 November 2: Lonsdale, 429-67, especially Joanna Baillie, Little

Week 12 November 9: Lonsdale, 480-end, especially Mary Robinson; Ashfield, new poets 1-82, especially Mary Hays.

Week 13 November 16: Ashfield, new poets pp. 89-199, especially Hemens; also Tighe and J. Taylor

Week 14 November 23: Ashfield, 200-266, especially Jewsbury, E. Bronte

Week 15 November 30 Conference: Formalist Approaches to Female British Poets of the Long Eighteenth Century

Week 16 December 7 Conference: Contextual Approaches to Female British Poets of the Long Eighteenth Century

Assignments and Grading

A conference paper is a scholarly/critical article short enough to be delivered orally in either 15-20 minutes, or 30-40 minutes, depending on the format of the meeting. You may choose to write two short conference papers or one long one. The conference paper(s) and the portfolio should discuss at least two different authors.

A portfolio is a collection of materials about a single author, which may or may not be given electronic form as a website. If you don't, I probably will.

        Examples: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, by Eliezra Schaffzin
                          Mary Robinson, by Kristin Chancey
                         Joanna Baillie, by Allan Espano

Possible portfolio poets are those mentioned as "especially" to be considered on the reading list above. They have been selected as much because of availability of information as because of intrinsic interest. Select your portfolio poet ASAP--only one student may select each author. A website, or portfolio suitable for a website, should contain all of the following, plus whatever else you feel like including:

  1. A short biography of the subject, properly annotated and including a list of the subject's published works. See the DLB for models.
  2. A list of critical works on the subject poet that have published since 1988 (for writers in Lonsdale only) or 1994 (for writers in Ashfield), and including earlier studies if they are not listed in Lonsdale or Ashfield.
  3. A critical edition of at least one of the poet's poems. "Publication" may be electronic or print.
  4. A poetic genealogy, in which you identify one or more male or female poetic "parents" (or perhaps "siblings" and "offspring" of the subject poet, justifying your genealogy by specific references to poems and traits, as well as external evidence, if any.
Class contributions.

Everyone is expected to be present and prepared for all classes, barring illness and other emergencies. Each person is responsible for discussion at the class meeting in which his/her "portfolio" poet is to be examined, and each person must be the "second reader," the person prepared to ask questions and bring up points about the featured poets, at least once in the term. At every class meeting in which you are not the portfolio presenter or a second reader, you should prepare a brief analysis of one or more poems by one of the other authors read, either contextual or formalist in approach.