York Notes Companions: The Long 18th Century

Penny Pritchard  
Pearson Longman
Total pages
June 2010
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York Notes Companions: The Long 18th Century
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From Restoration poets and playwrights Dryden, Rochester and Behn, through to the great eighteenth-century novelists and satirists Richardson, Burney and Defoe, this volume discusses the key literary developments of the age. Covering important topics of debate, such as trade, expansion and slavery, nature, liberty, and print culture, this York Notes Companion also incorporates relevant critical theory throughout for a complete and wide-ranging introduction.


  • Analysis of key texts and debates
  • Extended commentaries provide further in-depth analysis of individual texts
  • Notes contain extra context and explanations of literary terms
  • Historical, social and cultural contexts explored in introductory chapters and alongside discussions
  • Modern critical theory and perspectives in practice
  • Timelines and annotated further reading

Table of Contents

Part One: Introduction


Part Two: A cultural background


Part Three: Text, Writers and Contexts

Verse: John Dryden, Samuel Johnson and John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

          Extended commentary: Wilmot, The Imperfect Enjoyment (1680)

Drama: Aphra Behn, William Congreve and Richard Brinsley Sheridan

          Extended commentary: Behn, The Rover (1677-81)

Political and social satire: Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift and Mary Wortley Montagu

          Extended commentary: Pope: The Rape of the Lock (1712-4)

Pastoral/Anti-Pastoral Poetry: James Thomson, Oliver Goldsmith, George Crabbe and William Cowper

          Extended commentary: Crabbe, The Village (1783)

The Novel, Part I: John Bunyan, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson and Fanny Burney 

          Extended commentary: Haywood, Fantomina (1725)

The Novel Part II: Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, and Laurence Sterne

          Extended commentary: Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1759-67)


Part Four:  Critical theories and debates 

Man, Nature and Liberty

Gender and Sexuality

Trade, Colonial Expansion and Slavery

A Culture of Print


Part Five: References and resources


Further reading


Back Cover

The Long Eighteenth Century, Literature 1660­–1790

The York Notes Companion to the Long Eighteenth Century traces the development of literature in English from the poets and playwrights of the Restoration through to the great eighteenth-century novelists and satirists.  Examining the cultural and intellectual contexts that shaped the work of writers from Dryden to Defoe, such as trade, colonial expansion, slavery, and print culture, the Companion offers close readings of texts, and guides students through the key literary theories and debates that inform the study of the literature of this period.  Connecting texts with their historical and scholarly contexts, this is essential reading for any student of eighteenth century literature. 


Each York Notes Companion provides:

  • Analysis  of key texts and debates  
  • Extended  commentaries for further in-depth analysis of individual texts  
  • Exploration  of historical, social and cultural contexts
  • Annotations clarifying literary terms and events in history
  • Modern  theoretical perspectives in practice  
  • Timelines  and annotated further reading

Penny Pritchard is a Lecturer in English Literature and Language at the University of Hertfordshire.


Dr Penny Pritchard holds a BA from the University of Oxford and a Phd from the University of East Anglia. She has a wide range of post-16 teaching experience and is a lecturer in English Literature and Language at the University of Hertfordshire. Here she is the Module leader for the Eighteenth Century, and teaches on Restoration, Eighteenth Century and Renaissance modules. She has contributed an essay on Defoe’s Nonconformist background and rhetoric to the forthcoming Cambridge Scholars volume Positioning Daniel Defoe’s Non-fiction: Form, Genre and Function, and also a chapter on the funeral sermon to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the English Sermon.Penny has published extensive entries on Defoe’s biography and literary works for various online directories, including the Literary Encyclopedia and the Annotated Bibliography of English Studies.  She is a member of BSECS and has chaired panels at their annual conference, as well as giving several seminar and conference papers here and at institutions round the country. She is also a member of the Defoe Society.

Reader Review(s)

"Pearson’s guide to theLong 18th Century would be an extremely helpful resource to any student of A level to undergraduate level. It is a very easily readable guide to a century of dense social context; the book successfully manages to break this context down into easily comprehensible sections. One can easily dip in and out of the text; the subsections ensure that the writing is always focused and relevant and prevent one from getting lost in a mass of text. The style is academic, yet cogent and accessible and the index is thorough and comprehensive enough to make using the book very easy...

The texts focused upon for the extended commentaries are well selected and overall it provides an essential guide to an era which can initially seem daunting in its range of innovations and heavily loaded political and social context."

- Emily Scurrah, English Student, Warcwick University