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Literature 3B: Eighteenth-Century British Literature


Admission requirements

Literature 1A and Literature 2, or equivalent.


Literature 3B is a survey course covering developments in British poetry and prose fiction during the eighteenth century. The literary works on the reading list will be read in relation to various aesthetic and historical contexts, and in the 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 own time, we will study in detail the eighteenth-century genesis and development of this genre. 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 Neoclassicism, 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.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

  • Self-motivated study of assigned reading

Course Load

The course load for this course is 140 hours, divided approximately as follows:

19.5 hours tutorial
78 hours reading (6 hours a week on average)
26.5 hours exam preparation
16 hours researching and writing the essay assignment

Assessment method


  • A 1200-1500-word essay with a small research component (two academic essays), presented according to the rules of the MLA stylesheet (35%).

  • Take-home exam at the end of the course (65%).

Students should obtain at least a 6 for the essay, and a 5 for the take-home exam


  • 1-hour exam in October (15%).

  • 1-hour exam in December or January (15%).

Both exams primarily test students’ contextual knowledge (cultural-historical contexts, a selection of scholarly articles)

  • 1200-1500-word essay with a small research component (two academic essays), presented according to the rules of the MLA stylesheet (25%).

  • Take-home exam in December or January, consisting of 400-word essays (45%).

A minimum mark of 5.5 for the two 1-hour exams; a minimum mark of 6 for the essay and take-home exam


Insufficient components can be retaken.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.


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

  • Warburton, Nigel. The Basics of Essay Writing (Routledge)

  • 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 or 10th edition, vols 1 & 2, or vols C (The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century) & D (The Romantic Period) (Norton)

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

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


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Students other than from the BA English Language and Culture studies need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.


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.