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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: The Queer Eighteenth Century (ENLI10394)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryCharacteristically modern forms of sexual and gender identity came into being during the long eighteenth century. This course examines the representation of emergent queer identities in a range of genres, including drama, fiction, poetry and memoir. We'll read about mollies, fops and sodomites, tribades, sapphists, and female husbands. Early modern queerness was in some ways more capacious than contemporary ways of figuring non-normative sexual and gender identities, though it was also more violently policed. These less prescriptive queer identities, which were often specific to eighteenth-century culture, were increasingly marginalised and pathologised over the course of the century. A newly rigid system of gender binaries and the strict modern alignment of sexual behaviours with sexual and gender identities emerged alongside the radical economic and cultural shifts of the period. The global outlook of English culture in the eighteenth century meant that new gender and sexual identities were formed in the context of colonial exploitation, slavery and racialisation; we cannot divorce the invention of modern "race" from the invention of modern gender and sexuality. So we'll think broadly about the mutability of identity in this period: from cross-dressed actors and blackface performances to the unstable protagonists of the new, popular prose genres, autobiography and the novel, eighteenth-century literature "queers" the self. The course will interrogate the origins of the modern organisation of sex and gender, historicising our understanding of these categories and revealing their contingency and their limitations.
Course description This course introduces students to a variety of eighteenth-century literary genres through the lens of queer identity. It examines the origins and limitations of our modern conceptions of sex and gender by exploring the fluidity of non-normative sexual identities and behaviours represented in eighteenth-century literature and culture. The course will explore the way in which, over the course of the century, eighteenth-century thinkers increasingly assigned gender to biological sex and made homosexual behaviours into identity categories, making them definitive of personhood.
Students will attend weekly seminars, for which they will prepare by reading and researching these topics independently as well as meeting in autonomous learning groups. In addition to the primary texts named in the syllabus, the students will be asked to prepare critical materials independently and to assess and apply these materials in brief seminar presentations as well as in their essays.
In addition to their work in the seminars, students will be assessed by a term essay of 2,500 words and a final assessment essay of 3,000 words, the first due in Week 9 and the second during the exam period.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) OR English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) AND Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)) AND ( Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025) OR Scottish Literature 2A (ENLI08022) AND Scottish Literature 2B (ENLI08023) OR English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) AND Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2000 word coursework essay (30%) submitted mid-semester;
plus 3000 word final essay submitted during exam period (70%).
Feedback Students will receive formal written feedback on all three elements of assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss and elucidate this written feedback during optional face-to-face meetings with the course organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. independently analyse and respond critically to a variety of eighteenth-century and contemporary literary and critical material
  2. build clear, coherent arguments about the relationships among eighteenth-century literary texts and their wider contemporary culture
  3. present their contextualised analyses in both written and oral formats
Reading List
Poem XLIX (Maitland Quarty); selected poems of Katherine Philips (Uploaded on Learn)
Donne, 'Sapho to Philaenis'; selected poems of Rochester and Behn (Uploaded on Learn)
Shadwell, The Woman-Captain (1680) (Uploaded on Learn)
Cavendish, Convent of Pleasure (1668); Rochester, Sodom (1684) (Uploaded on Learn)
Scott, Millennium Hall (1762) (Broadview, 1995)
Fielding, The Female Husband (1746) (Uploaded on Learn)
Charke, Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke (1755) (Uploaded on Learn)
Selections from The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, Vol 1 & 2 (1791-1830) (Virago, 1988, 1992)
Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749) (Oxford, 1985)
Burney, Evelina (1778) (Oxford, 2002)
Beckford, Vathek (1786) (Oxford, 1980)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills As an outcome of having studied this course, students will benefit from having developed a range of personal and professional skills commensurate with the range of SCQF Level 10 characteristics:
Knowledge and understanding: students will have had the opportunity to demonstrate their detailed knowledge and understanding of the specialist subject of eighteenth-century literature and culture while also showing a critical understanding of a range of the principal concepts of literary analysis in relation to their reading and discussion of the course material;
Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding: in their work for class discussion, presentations and formal assessment tasks, students will have been able to practice the application of these theories and concepts in their construction of arguments about the course material;
Generic Cognitive Skills: in completing assessed essays and class presentations, students will have practiced identifying, defining, conceptualising and analysing complex problems and issues germane to the discipline;
Communication: through participating in these tasks students will also have demonstrated the ability to communicate ideas and information about specialised topics in the discipline to an informed audience of their peers and subject specialists;
Autonomy and Working with Others: students will also have shown the capacity to work autonomously and in small groups on designated tasks, develop new thinking with their peers, and take responsibility for the reporting, analysis and defence of these ideas to a larger group.
Additional Class Delivery Information Weekly 2 hour seminar for 10 weeks.

Plus an autonomous learning group 1 hour per week at a time to be arranged.
KeywordsEighteenth century,literature,queer identity,sex,gender,subjectivity
Course organiserDr Rebecca Tierney-Hynes
Tel: (0131 6)50 8410
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
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