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Philology 5: Late Modern English


Admission requirements

Successful completion of Philology 1, 2 and 3 or equivalent courses.


Letters, journals, memoirs, presentments, wills, recipes and newspapers: these are all different text types the study of which aims to illustrate the use of English other than that commonly found in printed documents. In this course, we will read a large variety of texts to study the English as it was used during the Late Modern English period (1700–1900). We will focus on differences between these texts and printed documents, as well as from present-day Standard English. In addition, we will look at texts by men and women, as well as by people from different sociolinguistic backgrounds, including people who were practically illiterate. We will concentrate on spelling, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and style of writing, and in doing so we will make use, wherever possible, of databases that are available online. We will also analyse relevant texts with the help of the concordancing program WordSmith Tools.

Course objectives

This course builds on experience acquired during the first two years of the BA curriculum in English philology, particularly as it regards the history of the English language, but also on the linguistics courses. At the end of the course students will have a good insight into the nature and language of different text types from the Late Modern English period (1700–1900), and of their relationship with the more standard printed texts of the time. They will be able to analyse and identify the typical textual and linguistic characteristics of these text types, and apply their skills when writing a BA thesis in the field of Late (or Early) Modern English.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Presentation and active course contribution (25%), final essay (75%).


Yes, see Blackboard

Reading list

  • Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade (2009), An Introduction to Late Modern English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Some additional reading material.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Co-ordinator of Studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.