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Literature 3B: British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century


Admission requirements

Literature 1A and Literature 2, or equivalent.


Literature 3B is a survey course covering developments in British poetry and prose fiction during the eighteenth century. The literary works on the reading list will be read in relation to various aesthetic and historical contexts (such as Atlantic slavery and the French Revolution, as well as eighteenth-century attitudes to class and gender), and in the light of key concepts such as enlightenment, reason, decorum, the self, faith, the public sphere, sensibility and the imagination. Because the novel is such a dominant literary form in our own time, we will study in detail the eighteenth-century genesis and development of this genre. Other topics covered are stylistic and thematic developments, in particular the Gothic and various types of Romanticism.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will:

  • Have good general knowledge and understanding of the major stylistic, structural and thematic developments in eighteenth-century British literature.

  • Have a thorough understanding of key eighteenth-century literary categories and concepts such as prose fiction, the novel, realism, versimilitude, sensibility and Romanticism.

  • Be able to analyse works of eighteenth-century literature in relation to key cultural-historical contexts.

  • Have further developed their academic research and writing skills by writing a scholarly essay with a smal research component.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

  • Self-motivated study of assigned reading

Assessment method


  • A 1200-1500-word essay with a small research component (two academic essays), presented according to the rules of the MLA stylesheet (35%).

  • Take-home exam at the end of the course (65%).

Students should obtain at least a 6 for the essay, and a 5 for the take-home exam. Both assessments primarily test students’ contextual knowledge (cultural-historical contexts, a selection of scholarly articles) and analytical skills.


  • Essay (35%).

  • Take-home exam (65%).


Insufficient components have to be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.  

Reading list

  • Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe (Penguin)

  • Godwin, William. Caleb Williams (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Greenblatt, Stephen, et al (eds.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th or 10th edition, vols 1 & 2, or vols C (The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century) & D (The Romantic Period) (Norton)

  • Radcliffe, Ann,* A Sicilian Romance* (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Richardson, Samuel. Pamela (Oxford World’s Classics)


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

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Registration Contractonderwijs


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal


Not applicable.