Lit History: The Queer Eighteenth Century

ENG 270: The Queer 18th Century

Time: MWF 10:30-11:20

Crn: 73711

Focus: DL, NI

Writing Intensive Course

What did LGBTQ look like in the 1700s Britain? Can Jane Austen really be queer? How can we talk about sexual orientation in a time before sexuality was a recognized part of a person’s identity? These are just some of the questions we will be asking of the Queer 18th Century. In this course, we’ll be reading novels, poems, plays, and life writing from the long eighteenth century (1660-1830) that address queer issues, characters, and situations. We’ll discuss and write about literature in its historical context, and we’ll research the role sexuality played in this revolutionary time period. Texts may include the following: poems by Katherine Phillips; selections from A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke; letters from Horace Walpole and Mary Berry; Frances Burney’s Evelina; Baillie’s De Montfort (a tragedy); Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, and much more. Although some critics question whether we can even talk about the eighteenth century as queer, our course will challenge that perspective as we search for and write about representations of LGBTQ. We will likely find that our search takes us through the complex and fascinating themes of humanity, including non heterosexual love.

Required Texts:

  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen; ISBN: 978-0307386885
  •  Evelina by Frances Burney; ISBN: 978-0199536931
  • Fantomina by Eliza Haywood; ISBN: 978-1551115245
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; ISBN: 978-0486282114
  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole; ISBN: 978-0486434124