The Age of Reason?

English 3.303, University of Pennsylvania, Autumn 1995, Jack Lynch

See also the full syllabus.
The eighteenth century is often called an age of reason, propriety, and enlightenment; but it was also an age of squalor, filth, disease, crime, prostitution, violence, and insanity -- and these less attractive (but perhaps more interesting) elements are favorites of eighteenth-century writers. This introduction to the period will look at some of the poems, plays, novels, paintings, and songs of eighteenth-century Britain that reveal this dirty underside of the Augustan age. Authors may include Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal), Daniel Defoe, John Gay, William Hogarth, William Blake, and Samuel Johnson. Six short (two-page) and three mid-length (four-to-six-page) papers; no exam.