Fall 2019 - ENGL 320 D100

Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature (1660-1800) (4)

Class Number: 4636

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Tue, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 100 division English courses, and two 200 division English courses.



The study of selected works of late seventeenth century and eighteenth century literature. May include some writing from outside Britain, and may be organized by various critical issues or approaches.


Wiring The World Before Facebook: Old And New Media In The Eighteenth Century

Presidential tweets. Facebook live. VR films. The media landscape is changing around us, with digital media offering more technical opportunities and serious ethical challenges every day. As we grapple with the implications of these changes, it is useful to consider that we are not the only ones who have struggled to come to terms with the effects of media change on individuals and on society in general. A little over 300 years ago, citizens of Britain also found themselves experiencing a brave new media world as the “new” medium -- in this case, print -- began to play a more dominant and more pervasive role in the mediascape than ever before, "wiring" them, as it were, to life beyond their neighbourhoods and even beyond their nation. In the words of Clifford Siskin and William Warner, “print” came to take “center stage” within an “already existing media ecology of voice, sound, image, and manuscript writing” in the early eighteenth century. In this course, we will go back in time in order to study the effects of media change. We will explore a range of early eighteenth-century works, attempting to understand how “new” (print) media transformed attitudes to traditional (oral and manuscript) media, but also how those traditional media shaped how people comprehended their relationship to the new medium. This course will also include media "labs" as we learn about eighteenth-century media (song, letters and letter-press printing) through engaging in the physical processes of singing, writing with quill pens and printing. 


In this course, you will be introduced to a variety of eighteenth-century texts and their contexts. You also will gain an understanding of the affordances of eighteenth-century media. In addition to learning to "close read" eighteenth-century texts, you will learn how to work with primary materials from the Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) and the Eighteenth-Century Media Online (EMO) resources as well as reading and analyzing critical articles on the history of media. You will also engage with eighteenth-century media materially through participating in a lab for each of the three modules: listening to and singing ballads for the module on Oral Culture; handwriting with quill pens for the module on Manuscript Culture; and experimenting with letter-press printing for the module on Print Culture. You will come away with a new appreciation for the complexity of mediation in the past – and a deeper perspective on our relationship with media in the present. This class will also develop your critical thinking, oral presentation and writing skills.


  • First essay (1500-1700 words) 25%
  • Second essay (1500-1700 words) 25%
  • In-class Essay 25%
  • Group work 15%
  • Participation 10%


  • I send out frequent instructions through email. Please make sure you check your sfu email account daily. If you use a different email address, please send it to me so I can add it to the course email list.  ·      
  • Students who miss more than 2 classes for reasons other than a medical or family emergency may receive “0” for the preparation/participation/attendance marks. ·            
  • Please turn off cell phones in class and refrain from texting.  ·      
  • Students are responsible for understanding and following SFU's policy on Academic Integrity.  Plagiarized assignments will receive a "0" and the English Department and the Registrar's office may receive a report on the offence. Repeat offences will be subject to harsher penalties by the Registrar's office.  



Students will work with primary sources from Eighteenth-Century Collections Online and Eighteenth-Century Media Online. All primary and secondary sources will be linked to the Canvas site. Among the texts we will study will be: ballads, songs, a ballad opera (Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd), letters of Lady mary Wortley Montagu, an eighteenth-century periodical (The Spectator), selections from newspapers and an epistolary novel. 


Students will be supplied with a full bibliography through the Eighteenth-Century Media online resource.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html