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Literature 3B: British Literature from Bunyan to Blake


Admission requirements

Successful completion of Literature 1A, 1B and Literature 2 or equivalent.


Literature 3B introduces students to developments in British poetry and prose fiction from the final decades of the seventeenth century until the end of the eighteenth century. The works in question will be read within various historical contexts and will be discussed in light of key eighteenth-century concepts such as enlightenment, reason, decorum, the self, faith, the public sphere, sensibility and the imagination. Because the novel has become such a dominant literary form in our time, extra attention will be paid to the development of this genre in the course of the eighteenth century. Other topics are stylistic and thematic developments from neoclassicism through sensibility towards romanticism.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have a general knowledge and understanding of the major stylistic, structural and thematic developments in British literature from the period of the Glorious Revolution to the end of the eighteenth century, within their historical contexts.


The timetable will be avialable by June 1st on

Mode of instruction

A weekly two-hour tutorial, divided into an introductory lecture of about half an hour, a short break, and about one hour discussion of the reading. the length of the introductory lecture depends on the reading material assigned for each week.

Assessment method

  • A 1200-1500 word mid-term essay, in which the student also uses at least two secondary sources, available in the university library, to support his or her argument, presented according to the rules of the MLA stylesheet (30%). The deadline for the essay is the tutorial in week 7. Students must submit one hard copy of the essay during the tutorial and must submit one electronic version of their essay via the SafeAssign button on the Blackboard site in week 7.

  • An in-class written quiz on the material covered in week 1-6 (15%) at the start of the week 7 tutorial.

  • A written exam on the material covered in week 7-12 in December (55%).


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Penguin)

  • Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Stephen Greenblatt et al (eds.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, Vol. I and II; or, Volume C en D (New York/London: Norton, 2005)

  • Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Samuel Richardson, Pamela (Oxford World’s Classics).


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Studentcounsellor Bachelor: Ms. S.H.J. Bollen, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103B.
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms. K. van der Zeeuw-Filemon, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


For week one of the course please read the excerpts from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” in the Norton Anthology of English Literature, as well as John Dryden’s “MacFlecknoe”, also in the Norton Anthology of English Literature.