St/18C (Johnson, Burney, Boswell)

This course explores the writings and the relationships of
three central writers of the eighteenth century, along with a study of the
social, intellectual, and political history of their time. The dominating
figure is Samuel Johnson, poet, biographer, critic, essayist, and literary
lion. The others, Frances Burney and James Boswell, were his close friends.
Boswell great work is his life of Johnson, considered by most students of life
writing as the greatest biography yet written. We will read much of that along
with some of his extraordinary journals and other biographical and
autobiographical pieces. Burney, now recognized as one of the century’s most
brilliant novelists and an essential precursor of Jane Austen, was also
associated with life writing, as her diaries are some of the most valuable of
the period. We will read two of her novels and excerpts from her diaries. The
course will include several short assignments, a short paper, a research paper,
plus a midterm and final exam.

Required Texts


Johnson, Samuel.
Samuel Johnson: The Major Works (Oxford
World’s Classics), ed. Donald Greene. New York: Oxford University Press, USA;
Reissue edition (April 15, 2009) ISBN: 13: 978-0199538331 [paper]

Boswell, James. Life of Johnson (Oxford World’s Classics).
New York: Oxford University Press, USA (August 1, 2008). ISBN: 13:
978-0199540211 [paper]

Burney, Frances. Evelina
(Oxford World’s Classics). New York: Oxford University Press, USA (December 15,
2008).ISBN: 13: 978-0199536931 [paper]

Burney, Frances. Cecilia
(Oxford World’s Classics). New York: Oxford University Press, USA (July 22,
1999). ISBN: 13: 978-0192839091

Burney, Frances. Journals
and Letters: Burney, Frances
(Penguin Classics). ISBN-13: 978-0140436242 [paper]

Porter, Roy. English
Society in the Eighteenth Century
, Second Edition (The Penguin Social
History of Britain). Penguin (Non-Classics); 2nd Printing edition (September 4,
1990). ISBN: 13: 978-0140138191 [paper]