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Literature 3B: Eighteenth-Century British Literature


Admission requirements

Literature 1A and/or Literature 2, or equivalent.


Literature 3B is a survey course covering developments in British poetry and prose fiction during the eighteenth-century. The works in question will be read within various aesthetic and historical contexts and will be discussed in light of key concepts such as enlightenment, reason, decorum, the self, faith, the public sphere, sensibility and the imagination. Because the novel is such a dominant literary form in our time, extra attention will be paid to the genesis and development of this genre in the course of the eighteenth century. Other topics covered are stylistic and thematic developments from Neoclassicism through Sensibility towards various types of Romanticism.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have:

  • a firm general knowledge and understanding of the major stylistic, structural and thematic developments in eighteenth-century British literature.

  • a thorough understanding of the relationship and difference between literary categories such as Neo classicism, Sensibility and Romanticism.

  • the knowledge to place individual literary works in key historical contexts.

  • further developed their academic research and writing skills by writing a literary-critical essay, with a smaal research component.


See timetable English

Mode of instruction

  • Contextual lectures

  • Lectures on academic writing and research skills in block 1

  • Seminars

  • Self-motivated study of assigned reading

Course Load

The course load for this course is 140 hours

  • Several lectures

  • 26 hours tutorial

  • 78 hours reading (6 hours a week, but some weeks more than others)

  • 20 hours exam preperation

  • 16 hours researching and writing the essay assignment (including the 2 lectures)

These are approximate calculations only. Some students will read quicker and write slower and vice vesra.

Assessment method

  • An essay of 1200 words with a small research component, presented according to the rules of the MLA stylesheet; minimum grade: 6 (25%).

  • A 3 hour mid-term exam in the exam week in October; minimum grade: 5 (35%).

  • A 3 hour end-of-term exam in December or January; minimum grade: 5 (40%).

The final grade is determined by calculating the average grade for the above-mentioned assignment and exams, rounded to the nearest half. A final grade below 5,5 (also 5,49) is insufficient. Only when the final grade is insufficient can students resit exams graded lower than 5,5. The resit grade will replace the original grade. Resit period : January or March 2016.

Attendance is compulsory. Unauthorized absence will mean that you cannot take part in the relevant exam(s).


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

  • Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe (Penguin)

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

  • Godwin, William. Caleb Williams (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Greenblatt, Stephen, et al (eds.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, 2 Vols (Norton)

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

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

  • Syllabus (full-time)

  • Syllabus (part-time)


Enrollement trough uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact details

English Language and Culture student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;
Coordinator of studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


The reading for week 1 is: “Introduction to the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1785)” and Aphra Behn, “Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave” in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volume 1.