The Idea of the Classic in
Eighteenth-Century England

English 560, Spring 2001

Jack Lynch

Office: (973) 353-5279x516; 516 Hill Hall.

Hours: Monday, 2:30-4:00, and by appointment (appointments are best).

Home: (609) 882-4642 (before 10 p.m.!).

E-mail: (the best way to reach me).

Listserv: lynch560 @ (for the whole class).

Course Requirements

English 560 involves the following responsibilities on your part:


Virtually all the readings will be available on-line on the World Wide Web; copies of most pieces will also be available on reserve in Dana Library. For easily available works too long to print or read on-screen (Paradise Lost, Tom Jones, &c.), you're encouraged to find your own edition. A few pieces will be available as photocopies from Print Media Services at 160 University Ave.

Reports and Annotated Bibliographies

Each student will be particularly responsible for the readings on one day of the semester, producing and distributing (on paper or by E-mail) a short annotated bibliography of relevant criticism and then beginning class with an oral report of between ten and fifteen minutes. The report should begin with a very brief discussion of the annotated bibliography the student has prepared, giving a quick overview of the major scholarship on the topic. Thereafter, the topic is anything relevant to the day's reading material. A good report will raise as many fruitful questions as possible and get discussion rolling. Anything that will help -- handouts, short readings for the rest of the class -- is welcome and encouraged.

Schedule of Class Meetings

18 Jan.:
Introduction (class business, &c.).
25 Jan.:
Aristotle, Poetics; Horace, The Art of Poetry.
1 Feb.:
John Milton, Paradise Lost, front matter and books I-III; Richard Bentley's edition of Paradise Lost, Preface and Book I; Samuel Johnson, selections from The Life of Milton.
8 Feb.:
Milton, Paradise Lost, books IV and IX; John Dryden, selections from The State of Innocence; Joseph Addison, selections from The Spectator; William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plates 4, 5, and 6; Percy Bysshe Shelley, selections from A Defence of Poetry.
15 Feb.:
Dryden, The Æneis of Virgil, books I and IV; Alexander Pope, The Iliad of Homer, book I; Walter Jackson Bate, selections from The Burden of the Past and the English Poet (photocopy).
22 Feb.:
Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books; Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism.
1 March:
Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock.
8 March:
John Dryden, selections from An Essay of Dramatick Poesie; John Dryden and William Davenant, The Tempest; or, The Enchanted Island. First Paper Due.
15 March:
No Class: Spring Break.
22 March:
Alexander Pope, Preface to The Works of Shakespear; Nahum Tate, King Lear; Samuel Johnson, notes on King Lear.
29 March:
Samuel Johnson, "Drury-Lane Prologue" and selections from the Preface to Shakespeare; Elizabeth Montagu, Introduction to An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear; selections from Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet (photocopy).
5 April:
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, books 1-5.
12 April:
Fielding, Tom Jones, books 6-10.
19 April:
No Class: I'll be galivanting in New Orleans.
26 April:
Fielding, Tom Jones, books 11-18. Second Paper Due.