At the Coffee House: 18th Century British Literature

Welcome to the Coffee House – the place to be in the 18th century to exchange ideas and information, obtain the latest news and gossip, attend scientific lectures and lively debates, and chat about literature, politics and science. This class is designed to lure you into the eighteenth century with its fascinating musings, discussions and philosophies about nature, humans, gender, race, science and discovery. 

Next to an introduction to the Enlightenment, its literature and cultural history, we will encounter the works of well-known authors such as Alexander Pope, Aphra Behn or Jonathan Swift and their ideas on the nature of men and women, read pamphlets and poems on sexuality, sex and eroticism, such as “The Imperfect Enjoyment” written by the Earl of Rochester and explore the gay subculture of early eighteenth-century London. After our excursion into the realms of gender, we will turn out attention to politics, philosophy and science about the human body and mind as done by George Berkley and John Locke, or in Robert Hooke’s work “Micrographia”, before closing our coffee-house debates with an outlook on race and class in “The Negro’s Lament” by William Cowper.