MLAC2122 Enlightenment Literature
From Sarah Woodcock
"Incan princesses, tortured lovers, imprisoned nuns, social outcasts, hermits and shipwrecks: eighteenth-century fiction was rich in both its characters and its themes, and written in a time of great experimentation in both ideas and literature. This module aims to introduce you to some of these developments through the study of three very different novels of the French Enlightenment: Françoise de Graffigny’s Lettres d’une Péruvienne (1747), Denis Diderot’s La Religieuse (1796) and Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s Paul et Virginie (1788). Alongside an investigation of how fiction developed during this era, we'll be looking at some of the key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with: What is happiness and how do we find it? How do we understand our personal identity and our relationship to society? How does language shape our thoughts and our relationships with others? How important is personal freedom? Are people naturally good? How do we live well with others?"