Libertine Literature, 1660-1690

Module code: EN3172

This module examines many of the most important  libertine works written in the years following the restoration of Charles II in 1660.  It looks in detail at the philosophy, religious views, and sexual morality of the libertines and the way in which their values were assimilated to and represented in the poetry and drama of the period – values which were simultaneously reactionary and subversive and which offer a provocative commentary on our own. A distinctive feature of the module is the variety of genres and modes of writing with which it deals, from discursive prose, translation, verse epistle, satire, burlesque to farce, comedy, and tragedy. 

Topics covered:

  • Religion 
  • Scepticism
  • Nature 
  • Appetite 
  • Obscenity 
  • ‘Pornopolitics’
  • The figure of the rake
  • Whores and courtesans
  • Money 
  • Honour 
  • Masquerade
  • Social spaces
  • City versus country