English Literature

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2017-18: Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Eastern Time
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Unit IV: The Age of Reason

Week 19
Please read:

Samuel Johnson:

James Boswell: The Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D., sel., pp. 401-407. Those who would like to read more of Boswell’s remarkable book may read a good deal of it here through the Rutgers University site by Prof. Jack Lynch. The text is not yet complete, but it is growing.

Thomas Gray:

Those who find Gray’s proto-Romanticism interesting might also be interested in looking at Oliver Goldsmith’s similar poem from 1770, "The Deserted Village", which was hugely popular in its day as well. This is not required, but can be found in Goldsmith’s collected works here. Goldsmith himself was a popular playwright and novelist, whose most famous works are "She Stoops to Conquer" and The Vicar of Wakefield.

On the other hand, those to whom Gray seems just a bit too ponderous and overly serious should give a look to his comically overblown "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes." There's more than a little of Pope's mock-epic flair here. A few other works by Gray can be found alongside it in the Bartleby version of the Oxford Book of English Verse.

The Changing English Language, p. 413.

Please take the review quiz for Unit IV.