Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar. 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  Essay: 
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the texts studied which is informed by an engagement with and understanding of relevant secondary reading;

2. demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and historical issues raised by the module and show awareness of their implications;

3. apply a variety of critical approaches to, and recent discussions of, the fiction on the module;

4. discuss, research and produce written work about these texts which demonstrates engagement with both the historical conditions of their production and recent critical debates about literary history and women's writing.


Women's fiction from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was often described as sensational, scandalous, and second rate. Yet the fiction of writers such as Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood constituted some of the most popular writing of the period despite their subsequent exclusion from mainstream accounts of the history of the novel. This module seeks to introduce students to a representative range of women's fiction from this fifty-year period. We will also explore some of the critical issues at stake in 're-reading' popular women's writing from a feminist perspective and examine the way in which women novelists are now being incorporated into more general debates about the development of the novel in the eighteenth century.

_1. Sexual Politics

Aphra Behn, "Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister", 1684-87, (Penguin)

_2. Scandal Politics

Delarivier Manley, "The New Atlantis", 1709 (Penguin); "Queen Zarah", 1705"(Oxford Anthology)

_3. Amatory Fiction

Eliza Haywood, "Love in Excess"; or, "The Fatal Enquiry", 1719-20 (Broadview Press)

_4. Amatory Fiction (continued)

Jane Barker, "Love Intrigues", 1713; Eliza Haywood, "The British Recluse", 1724 and "Fantomina", 1725 (Oxford Anthology)

_5. Reforming Amatory Fiction

Mary Davys, "The Reform'd Coquet", 1724; Penelope Aubin, "The Adventures of the Count de Vinevil", 1721; Elizabeth Singer Rowe, "Friendship in Death", 1728 (Oxford Anthology)


This module is at CQFW Level 7