ENGL 342: Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature I (Fall 2008)

Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa in Context

Christopher Fanning

An intensive study of Richardson’s epistolary novel Clarissa in two contexts: first, the immediate social-cultural and literary-philosophical (e.g., engagements with class and gender politics, the print marketplace, narrative forms, theories of knowledge and ethics), and, second, the critical: the place of Richardson’s work as pivotal in modern histories of the novel. Readings from other novelists of the period, responses to Richardson, and modern critical accounts will be included.

Clarissa is known as the longest novel in the English language: students are advised to begin reading over the summer in the full Penguin edition. A reader’s guide to Richardson’s Clarissa is available through the following links in HTML or PDF.

For further reading, see also: Richardson_resources.html

Graded Requirements:
class participation: 10%
seminar presentation: 15%
assignment one (1000 words): 20%
assignment two (1500-2000 words): 30%
final exam: 25%

Please use the editions specified below.  Textbook information available at: http://www.campusbookstore.com/Textbooks/Course/ENGL342-FALL08

Schedule of readings:

Tue 9 Sep: Introductions
Thur 11 Sep: Haywood, Love in Excess [Broadview edition] (1719-20), Part the First [35-79]

Tue 16 Sep: Love in Excess, Part the Second [81-160]
Thur 18 Sep: Love in Excess, The Third and Last Part [161-266]

Tue 23 Sep: Richardson, Pamela [Oxford edition] (1741), Vol. 1 [1-98]
Thur 25 Sep: Pamela [98-219]

Tue 30 Sep: Richardson, Pamela, Vol. 2 [221-503]
Thur 2 Oct: PRESENTATIONS: The “Rise of the Novel” Tradition: Ian Watt and W.B. Warner

Tue 7 Oct: Richardson, Clarissa [Penguin edition] (1747-48), vol 1, Preface & Letters 1-46 [35-210]
Thur 9 Oct: PRESENTATION: Clarissa, Class and Property

Tue 14 Oct: Clarissa, vol 2, Letters 47-93 [210-372]
Thur 16 Oct: PRESENTATION: Romantic Love and Companionate Marriage

Tue 21 Oct: Clarissa, second installment, vol 3, Letters 94-173 [372-566]
Thur 23 Oct: PRESENTATION: Libertinism

Tue 28 Oct: Clarissa, vol 4, Letters 174-231 [566-762]
Thur 30 Oct: PRESENTATION: Marriage Law

Tue 4 Nov: Clarissa, third installment, vol 5, Letters 232-293 [762-969] {Key Letters: 232-235, 238-240, 243-251, 254-264, 266, 271-275, 279-281, 285, 291-293}
Thur 6 Nov: PRESENTATION: Epistolarity—the form of Clarissa

Tue 11 Nov: Clarissa, vol 6, Letters 294-418 [969-1223] {Key Letters: 294-297, 302-306, 310-315, 321}
Thur 13 Nov: PRESENTATION: Critical Debates: Castle, Eagleton, Warner—Reading, Writing, the Self, the Body

Tue 18 Nov: Clarissa, vol 7, Letters 419-537, Conclusion and Postscript [1223-1499 {Key Letters: 416-419, 421, 424, 428-432, 437-438, 440, 442-444, 447-451, 453, 456, 459-463, 465, 473-474, 477-487, 493-515, 518, 520-521, 524-537, Conclusion, and Postscript.}
Thur 20 Nov: PRESENTATION: Richardson and his Circle of Readers

Tue 25 Nov: John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Oxford edition] (1748), Vol. 1 (1-89)
Thur 27 Nov: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Vol. 2 (91-188)

Presentation requirements are described on a separate page <click here>.  Plan on working with one or more of your classmates.

Written assignments.  Please consult the English Department’s Policy on Plagiarism, attached to this syllabus.  Assignments are due at the beginning of class, or by 5PM on the due date for assignment number two.  A late penalty of 2% per day will apply to papers received after these times.  The assignments are as follows (no further paper reminders will be given):

1)    Clarissa’s Keywords (1000 words): Consult the “Key Words” provided for each installment of Clarissa in the “Reading guide to Clarissa.”  Write a thematic study of one of these words in that particular installment of the novel.  The due date varies according to which installment you choose to study: 1st, due 21 Oct; 2nd, due 4 Nov; 3rd, due 20 Nov.

2)    A Critical Paper (1500-2000 words): This paper must address Clarissa from critical direction that you have not previously taken in this course, e.g., a seminar topic which you did not cover; a comparative study; a question posed by the “Reading guide.”  Students are encouraged to discuss their topic with the instructor.  Due date: 2 December (submission by email attachment).