The Libertine Moment

Subject 106-417 (2008)

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Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: .
Prerequisites: Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours in English, see Honours entry
Corequisites: .
Recommended Background Knowledge: .
Non Allowed Subjects: .
Core Participation Requirements: .


Marion J Campbell
Subject Overview:

This subject examines libertinism as a social and literary formation at the court of Charles II (1660-1685) through the exemplary figure of the Earl of Rochester. An influential courtier and nobleman as well as a witty and obscene poet, Rochester's scandalous life and celebrated death established his period as the libertine moment. We will examine a range of Rochester's own writings as well as his dramatic incarnation as the "restoration rake" in the plays of Wycherley and Etherege. By contrast Dryden and Behn illustrate the development in this period of the "professional" writer in their production of a large output of commercially successful writings across many genres. We will cover the philosophical pretexts of libertinism in the work of Hobbes as well as two principal historical moments (the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and the events of the Popish plot and Exclusion crisis from 1679-81) where libertinism takes on a specific political force. Students who successfully complete this subject will be familiar with the central philosophical, political and literary forms of libertinism and will have learnt how to analyse key literary texts by Rochester, Dryden and Behn in the context of a range of Restoration writing.

Assessment: An essay of 5000 words 100% (due in the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semesterLove-Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister (A Behn), Penguin. Selected Poems (J Dryden), Penguin. Poems (Rochester), Blackwell. The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama (>), Broadview.
Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • be able to develope critical self-awareness and shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;

  • be able to communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.

Notes: .

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