nl en

Literature 3B: Eigtheenth-Century British Literature


Admission requirements

Successful completion of Literature 1A and Litrature 2, or equivalent courses.


Literature 3B is a survey course, covering developments in British poetry and prose fiction during the eighteenth-century. The works in question will be read within various aesthetic and historical contexts and will be discussed in 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 time, extra attention will be paid to the genesis and development of this genre in the course of the eighteenth century. Other topics covered are stylistic and thematic developments from Neoclassicism through Sensibility towards various types of Romanticism.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have:

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

  • a thorough understanding of the relationship and difference between literary categorie such as Neo-classicism, Sensibility and Romanticism.

  • the knowledge to place individual literary works in key historical contexts.

  • further developed their academic research and writing skills by writing a literary-critical essay.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Reading List

Course Load

The course load for this course is 140 hours

  • 26 hours tutorial

  • 78 hours reading (average hours a week, but some weeks more than others)

  • 20 hours exam preperation

  • 16 hours researching and writing the essay assignment

These are approximate calculations only. Some students will read quicker and write slower and vice vesra.

Assessment method

  • Een essay of 1200 words with a small research component, presented according to the rules of the MLA stylesheet (20%)

  • a mid-term exam in the mid-term exam week in October (40%)

  • an end-of-term exam (40%)

The essay grade should be sufficient (6.0) in orde to be able to complete the course.
Please be aware that there will be no resit for the mid-term exam.


This course is supported by blackboard.

Reading list

  • Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe (Penguin)

  • Fielding, Henry. Joseph Andrews (Oxford World’s Classics)

  • Godwin, William. Caleb Williams (Penguin)

  • Greenblatt, Stephen, et al (eds.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, 2 Vols (Norton)

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

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


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the coordinator of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:“”

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration via Studeren à la carte
Registration via Contractonderwijs


English Language and Culture departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;
Coordinator of studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


Reading for week 1: Behn, “Oroonoko,” in The Norton Anthology of English Literature