How to Cope With Exams: Preparation and Survival Tools

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It’s spring, which means that lambs are running happily around the fields (in my area at least) and students are running around in desperation worrying about how to face the coming exams. The good news is that you still have … Read More

Novels Bad for your health?

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18thc Health Scare: Novels bad for your health! A writer in The Gazette Salutaire complained in 1768, ‘perhaps of all cases that have harmed women’s health, the principal one has been the unfortunate multiplication of novels in the last hundred … Read More

Women and the Eighteenth-Century Novel

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The eighteenth-century canon is still largely dominated by male writers but researchers have shown increasing interest since the 1980s in eighteenth-century women not only as readers but as writers. My students are often surprised to learn that freedom of speech … Read More

Gulliver & 18thc Europeans as ‘pernicious odious vermin’!

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Swift was a humanitarian, deeply concerned with the political issues of his day and practically involved in supporting the poor and fighting for change. Gulliver’s Travels, much loved by children for its fantastical figures, tells us much about the political … Read More

Devon Council To Ban the Apostrophe?

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No, it’s not April Fools’ Day… Extract from The Huffington Post: Councillors in Devon are considering banning apostrophes from their street signs because of the “potential confusion” the punctuation causes… Council communications manager Andrew Lacey said: “Our proposed policy on … Read More

Who was Petrarch?

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Who was Petrarch and why do lecturers in English Literature talk so much about him? Petrarch is a particularly important figure in Renaissance culture. Campbell argues that ‘Petrarch was responsible for the idea of romantic love which was celebrated in … Read More

What was the ‘Renaissance’?

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Students are often rather put off by the term ‘Renaissance’, yet surprised to find themselves becoming fans of Elizabeth I and enjoying Renaissance literature in spite of the language… Stick with it guys. I don’t know who told you that … Read More

Richardson, Aubin & rape in 18thc novels

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Taken from my essay, ‘”Minerva’s favourite Sholar”: Penelope Aubin Reconsidered’ – full text available here. Bizarrely, the terms ‘rape’ and ‘seduction’ are often used pretty much interchangeably in eighteenth-century writings. Women were often accused of passive consent in rape cases, … Read More

Women’s Legal Identity in the 18thc

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Extract from my essay, ‘Minerva’s favourite Sholar’: Penelope Aubin Reconsidered. The full article is available on the Research Articles section here. Only widows and unmarried women over twenty one had an individual legal identity. The legal identity of women under … Read More

Should I use journal articles for undergraduate study?

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Journals are excellent sources for up to date research but on a practical level they are usually highly specialised, with a natural focus on research rather than teaching and are written with academics rather than students in mind. The language … Read More

Nothing Happens in Austen?

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‘Nothing very much happens in her books, and yet, when you come to the bottom of a page, you eagerly turn it to learn what will happen next. Nothing very much does and again you eagerly turn the page. The … Read More

Eighteenth-Century Advice on Mother-In-Laws

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‘Be careful therefore that no dispute may ever happen between this lady and yourself, no complaint from either of you disturb his [husband’s] peace, to whom it would be so painful and unnatural to take part against either. Be armed … Read More