Bonneville, Savoy by J.M.W. Turner (1803)

Please follow all of the requirements listed at the top and bottom of the Writing Prompts for Essay #1. I will be happy to look over your thesis statements/paragraphs if you submit them to me by Tuesday, December 3rd.

Second Essay Due any time prior to Thursday, December 12th (electronic submission to either or )

You may respond to any of the first set of writing prompts other than the one you chose for your first essay.

Additional Prompts:

Many of the novels read this semester include a good deal of poetry, both quoted and original. What role does poetry play in the eighteenth-century novel as a whole OR in a particular novel? In your essay, you may want to consider embedded poems, the creation of poetry, or the quotation of poetry and its relationship to the novel’s characterization, narrative form, and/or larger thematic concerns. Your essay should not address more than two novels and could very well focus on a single text.

The heroines of the eighteenth-century novel endure pages of trials and tribulations as they navigate an often treacherous social landscape, all while they balance the duties and virtues expected of them with their own desire for agency and “liberty.” In most of these novels (but not all), “happy” endings involve not “liberty” but “marriage.” Your essay should take up the question of how one or two of the novels read this semester represent the heroine’s journey towards marital respectability and whether or not it is uncritically represented as a better option than “liberty.”

Eighteenth-century women writers were part of a complex social network crafted out of patronage, readership, and public celebrity. In an analysis of no more than three works, explore the social and professional dynamic of a single social or literary network, which you define. The writers need not know each other personally. You could, for example, discuss the way in which two or three different writers respond to a specific literary tradition (i.e. the Gothic or the romance plot), educational philosophy, or literary forebear (i.e. Rousseau or Shakespeare). If you do discuss a group of writers who were part of the same social network through personal relations (i.e. Montagu, More, and Yearsley or Wollstonecraft and Hays), make sure that your focus is on textual evidence and not biographical information.

In many of the texts read this semester, the protagonist is quite literally a writer, either of letters, poems, or autobiography. In your essay, explore the significance of the representation of authorship in at least one text but no more than two.

In many of the texts read this semester, the act of reading is represented as a formative experience. In your essay, explore the significance of reading in at least one text but no more than two.

You may design your own writing prompt for this assignment. If you choose this option, you must submit it to me by the end of Thanksgiving break for feedback and approval. Due by Saturday, November 30th, so that I can return them to you by Monday, December 2nd.

Possible avenues when developing your essay topic:

    • Representations of the natural world
    • Representations of political or social activism
    • Representations of piety and religious belief
    • Narrative voice in the eighteenth-century novel
    • Representations of material objects and their significance (i.e. miniatures and portraits, found manuscripts, etc.)