Historical background (pp. 315-319).
- Absalom and Achitophel, selection, pp. 321-2.
- “Mac Flecknoe”, sel., p. 322.
- “To the Memory of Mr. Oldham”
The last item here is linked at the Poetry Archives site.
“Mac Flecknoe”, as you will discover, is a scathing personal attack on one of Dryden’s contemporaries and rivals, Thomas Shadwell. If you’re interested, you can read more of “Mac Flecknoe” here at the Poetry Archives site.
Those who come to this course by way of Western Literature to Dante might also be interested to know that John Dryden was also highly regarded as a translator. His translation of Vergil’s Aeneid was the standard English version for many generations, and his translation of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, available here at the MIT Classics Archive, is still commonly in use.
Samuel Pepys, Diary, sel., pp. 325-331.
- “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General”, p. 334.
- “A Description of a City Shower”, pp. 335-6.
- “A Modest Proposal”, pp. 337-343.
- A Voyage to Brobdignag, from Gulliver’s Travels, pp. 344-356.
For those who would like to read all or more of this remarkable book, a complete (and illustrated) text of Gulliver’s Travels is available at Project Gutenberg.
- “The Education of Women”, p. 372-375.
- A Journal of the Plague Year, p. 414-418.
Defoe’s books have not invariably won a lot of critical acclaim, but they have been extremely popular with readers since they were first published. Here you may read:
Richard Steele, from The Spectator, p. 358-361.
Joseph Addison, from The Spectator, p. 365-370.
Addison and Steele produced The Spectator from 1711 to 1712. Think of it as a kind of ancestor of the blog. Both were extraordinary writers and superb stylists, though personally I like Addison a bit better. They produced it for a relatively short time before it faded into oblivion, but it was a delightful collection of miscellaneous essays and stories. Here is the whole of The Spectator, with original formatting and capitalization, footnotes, and translation helps. Number 10 is one of my favorites, published after about two weeks of daily issues: you need to read carefully to catch the irony Addison is using, but it’s worthwhile.
Macaulay, “The London Coffeehouses”, pp. 361-364.
“Themes in English Literature: London”, p. 371.
Consider for discussion this week:
- This is arguably the golden age of satire in English literature: Swift, Dryden, Addison, and Steele were all satirists. How does their use of satire differ?
- What is the political difference between these different kinds of satirists?
- In the midst of this, we also see some serious non-satirical writing, like Defoe’s discussion of the education of women, or Dryden’s elegy on the death of a friend. Do these different kinds of writing fit together?
- Can you distinguish the styles of Addison and Steele? (You probably would need to read a little more of each of them than what the book offers to become confident in that, but it’s a worthwhile exercise.)
Please take the background quiz for Unit IV.
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