Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitLiterary Studies
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Patrick Spedding


The unit is designed to introduce students to a range of eighteenth-century English texts that use satire and sensibility to explore issues such as moral, social and political corruption, crime, prostitution and the rights of women. The unit considers why and how an era that championed Enlightenment values (such as skepticism, rationality and restraint) also gave rise to elite- and pop-cultural literatures with absurd, irrational and revolutionary themes, and which employ emotionalism and sentimentality, sex and sensual excess to appeal to their readers.

Special attention will be given to aspects of the emerging print culture that made the rise of the irrational possible in the Age of Reason and which enabled the cultural conflicts of the Enlightenment to be articulated via a flood of prose and verse pamphlets to an increasingly-engaged public.


It is intended that students successfully completing the unit will be able to:

  1. Read and interpret eighteenth-century English verse and prose with ease and pleasure.
  2. Locate and recognise, contextualise and analyse, critique and formulate hypotheses about, a range of eighteenth-century texts.
  3. Locate, reflect on and synthesize information relevant to the interpretation of eighteenth-century English texts and engage in creative and original thinking regarding those texts.
  4. Articulate their interpretations clearly and persuasively in oral and essay form, organising and synthesising their ideas into clear, coherent, logical and persuasive arguments.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.