Wednesday, August 14th
Course Introduction

Monday, August 19th

Attitudes toward the education, duties, and capabilities of women in the eighteenth century:

Please come into class having made two lists:

    1. Five things you learned about what the culture expected from eighteenth-century women, along with direct citation of your sources.
    2. Questions/comments you have about the status of eighteenth-century women, not where in your reading you were prompted to raise these questions or comments.

Today’s readings draw from 3 pdfs and 4 of your required texts: Burney’s Evelina, Hay’s The Victim of Prejudice, Smith’s Emmeline, and Wollstonecraft’s Mary and The Wrongs of Woman

An Introduction to the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (pdf)

 1692 (1st published 1688), George Savile, from The Lady’s New-year’s Gift; or, Advice to a Daughter (Burney, Evelina 563-569). See image from the Beinecke Library <>

1699, John Locke, selections from Some Thoughts Concerning Education (pdf)

1711-1712, Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele, Selections from The Spectator (251-262) You do not have to read pgs. 263 and following.

Read here for a short description of the periodical

Link to footnotes

1749 (1st published 1744), Edward Moore, from Fables of the Fair Sex (Hays, The Victim of Prejudice 193-209); you are reading this poem to get a sense of tropes and imagery associated with feminine virtue in the period.

1754, [John Hill], from On the Management and Education of Children, A Series of Letters Written to a Neice; By the Honourable Juliana-Susannah Seymour (Burney, Evelina 600-601)

1757, Edmund Burke, “On Delicacy” from A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (Smith, Emmeline 488-489)

1761, Lady Sarah Pennington, from An Unfortunate Mother’s Advice to Her Absent Daughters; In a Letter to Miss Pennington (Burney, Evelina 621-627)

1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, ou, de l’Éducation (Hays, The Victim of Prejudice 223-226; Wollstonecraft, Mary and The Wrongs of Woman 327-331)

1773, Hester Chapone, “On Politeness and Accomplishments” from Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady (Smith, Emmeline 489-491)

1774, John Gregory, from A Father’s Legacy to His Daughters (Smith, Emmeline 491-497)

Wednesday, August 21st:

In-Class Writing: Drawing from Anne Finch’s poetry and/or Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, discuss the ways in which these women writers contest some of the ideas that dominant culture puts forth to define “ideal” feminine behavior of the period. Support your assertions with a close reading of at least one direct quote from today’s reading.

You must also note one specific literary technique (poetic or rhetorical) that the author uses to strengthen their argument as you’ve defined it above.

1694, Mary Astell, from A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (Course Pack). Link to ODNB entry on Astell. Link to Internet Archive early edition.

Anne Finch, Artist Unknown

1713, Selections from Anne Finch’s poetry: from The Spleen and “The Introduction”, and “By neer resemblance that Bird betray’d” (Course Pack). Link to ODNB entry on Finch.

Return to John Locke, selections from Some Thoughts Concerning Education (pdf)

Important literary terms: ode, heroic couplet

Anne Finch Interesting Links : Eastwell Park (here); “The Spleen” in its entirety; an image of the mss. page for “The Introduction” from “The Anne Finch Digital Archive“; “By neer resemblance that Bird betray’d” as published

Some passages from Monday’s reading

Monday, August 26th

A definition of “entailment”

A definition of “coverture”

1700 (1st edition), Mary Astell, from Reflections Upon Marriage (Course Pack). Our excerpt is from the 3rd edition.

See the British Library 3rd edition.

1703, Lady Mary Chudleigh, “To the Ladies” and “The Wish” <>

Link to ODNB Entry

Link to full text of the 1703 Poems on Internet Archive

Subject of a Literary Places blog post (with images)

1713, Selections from Anne Finch’s poetry: “A Letter to Daphnis, April 2, 1685” and “The Unequal Fetters” (Course Pack)

Wednesday, August 28th

Who is the Eighteenth-Century Woman? [Draft Due]

Writing Presentation 2019

In addition to the Purdue Owl and the  MLA Handbook, the following texts were used in preparing this handout: Langdon Elsbree, et. al. The Heath Handbook of Composition and John Trimble, Writing with style: Conversations on the art of writing

In-Class Writing: 

  1. How do you choose your paper topic and move from there to a thesis? Or, do you start with a thesis and then move into the text?
  2. How do you select evidence?
  3. How would you describe your revision process?
  4. What is the one aspect of essay writing that continues to leave you baffled and unsure?


September Calendar