Your essay is due at the beginning of class on Monday, February 12th
All of the following questions require that you first generate a thesis specific to the essay at hand. Once you have stated your position, you will need to prove your argument by carefully looking at the chosen material and mustering textual evidence to support that position.
Avoid biographical readings of the texts. Your assignment here is to support literary analysis through close reading of the literature itself.
Please do not use any outside criticism for this assignment
You must discuss at least 2 pieces of literature but no more than 3
Paper Length etc.: 5 pages, Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced
Use MLA format when writing your essay. See the Purdue Owl website for assistance if you don’t have an MLA Handbook.
Choose one of the following writing prompts to develop into an essay:
In his essay on fiction, Samuel Johnson insists that authors should “imitate nature” but only “those parts of nature which are most proper for imitation” (BABL 18th-Century 767). Does Horace Walpole conform to Johnson’s directive? If so, how? If not, what does he assert instead?
Was the eighteenth-century an “age of reason”? or one of “the sublime”? In an essay that draws upon at least two eighteenth-century texts, answer the above question in either the affirmative or negative. Support your assertion with careful analysis of your chosen texts.
Romantic authors had a very different concept of the writer/poet than their immediate predecessors in the eighteenth century. Compare and contrast the ways in which writers in the eighteenth century and the Romantic period characterize the artistic mind: its powers, the work it produces, and its potential effect upon society. In your essay you may want to consider different attitudes toward reason and the imagination; different uses of poetic form (i.e. the choice between heroic couplets and the lyric, for example); and/or different attitudes about the role of the poet in society. Restrict yourself to a discussion of one work by an eighteenth-century author and one work by a Romantic writer. In responding to this prompt, you may write on William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as well as Charlotte Smith or William Cowper.
In several works we have read this semester, authors have either explicitly or implicitly expressed hopes for the ways in which the writer – as a social figure – can materially impact society. In your essay, discuss the ways in which writers characterize the social role of literature. Make sure that you discuss the works literary strategies specifically; you must go beyond the “big ideas” to discuss specifics (i.e. choice of literary form, the cultivation of a voice in the text, the use of sound devices, etc.).
You may choose to develop one of the writing prompts found on the first semester exam. I would ask that you let me know that this is your intention no later than Friday, February 9th.