English 123 - Spring, 2022

18th Century British Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Hulbert, Annette
Time: TR 9:00-10:20
Location: 250 Olson
GE Areas: World Cultures Writing Experience


"All the Single Ladies": Spinsters and Widows

In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Mary Wollstonecraft makes her case for women's education by warning that an uneducated widow may find that "the vices of a licentious youth bring her with sorrow, if not with poverty also, to the grave." In this course, we'll ask how the figure of the unmarried woman becomes linked to feminist philosophy over the course of the eighteenth century. We'll also examine societal anxieties about the single woman, ranging from their perceived wayward sexuality to their ill-gotten wealth. Our reading list will include Defoe's Roxana and Haywood's Fantomina alongside two short epistolary novels (the anonymous Woman of Colour and one of Jane Austen's early works). The course will conclude with excerpts from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and other selections of poetic and polemical writing.


Short writing assignments and quizzes (25%)

One 4-5 page paper (25%)

One 6-7 page paper (35%)

Final (15%)


Fantomina, Haywood
Roxana, Defoe
The Woman of Colour, Anonymous
Lady Susan, Austen
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft