ENGL 3164-100 History and Literature of Georgian Britain

Instructor: Catherine Labio

Coalbrookdale by Night

Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, [Coalbrookdale by Night], exh. 1801, oil on canvas, Science Museum, London

In 1706-1707 the parliaments of England and Scotland ratified Acts of Union that gave birth to the Kingdom of Great Britain. Partly as a result, the Georgian era (1714-1811) was a period of staggering political, social, economic, intellectual, and artistic transformations. In this course we shall study some of the ways in which literary and artistic works have shaped and responded to the tumultuous history of the eighteenth century, a period that is both recognizably modern and, admittedly, a little strange. In particular, we shall pay attention to the ways in which writers and artists made sense of such phenomena as disease outbreaks, financial bubbles and crashes, changes in the institution of marriage, industrialization, slavery, and the French Revolution. We shall also ask how “Britishness” came to be defined in the eighteenth century, a question that will resonate with particular urgency in the coming weeks since, on September 18, 2014, Scotland will hold a referendum that will decide whether it will once again be an independent country.

Primary works include: 

Fiction by Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, and Samuel Richardson
Essays by Jonathan Swift, and Edmund Burke
Poems by Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth, and William Blake
Prints by William Hogarth, Isaac Cruikshank, James Gillray, and Thomas Rowlandson
Paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Joseph Wright of Derby, and J. M. W. Turner

ENGL 3164 Georgian Britain

Thomas Gainsborough, Mr and Mrs Andrews, National Gallery, London (ca. 1750)

Source: http://www.prisonersofeternity.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/hogarth-beer-street.jpg

William Hogarth, Beer Street (1751)




Photo Top Source: http://collectionsonline.nmsi.ac.uk/grabimg.php?kv=184658
Photo Left Source: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/thomas-gainsborough-mr-and-mrs-andrews/*/x/-143/y/-92/z/2
Photo Right Source: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/thomas-gainsborough-mr-and-mrs-andrews/*/x/-143/y/-92/z/2