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Second Assessed Essay

Second Assessed Essay 2018

The second assessed essay is also worth 25% of your final mark. It is designed to test your understanding of the whole century and to test your ability to read writing from this period. The texts to choose from are similar to ones you have done in class, but not so famous--so it is unlikely that you will find much criticism on the individual text (though good luck trying). They can all be found on EEBO and part of the point of the task is to help you to get familiar with using EEBO in your research. There are podcasts on the main EN228 page which show you how to use EEBO, but if you have any difficulty, just ask. The point of the exercise is is that you have already done something about the content and genre of each text so should be able to read it intelligently enough to answer the question. I would welcome you choosing your own title instead of the question below, so if you have something you would rather write about just drop me an email on or pop into my office hours.

These are all relatively obscure texts although there are some famous names here. We are interested in whether your awareness of the seventeenth-century context has developed far enough for you to be able to read these texts with some comprehension by yourselves. This does not mean that we will not talk to you about them—come and see us at any point! We will expect your essay to contain intra-textual and extra-textual evidence, and the extra-textual evidence should be well referenced so we can see where you are getting your context from. Reference books online like the Oxford English Dictionary and the Dictionary of National Biography could be useful.

Length: 2,500 words.

1.Francis Quarles, The shepheards oracles delivered in certain eglogues (1645)

These 11 poems are pastoral eclogues like Lycidas, and deal with the same central pun--shepherd is both pastor and poet. Quarles was the most popular poet in this century (amazing! more popular than Herbert and much more than Milton) They were all written in the 1630s except the last which was written in the 1640s--the text could not have been published in the 1630s though (why not?). The context for all except the last is what is going on in the Church of England in the 1630s--and you had better not do this question unless you understand theology...

Question: Choose two of the poems. Explain the political allegiance demonstrated here. (Remember we know what is going on, so don’t be too basic)

2. Charles Sedley, The Mulberry Garden (1668)

This is an early Restoration comedy. A lot of the joke here depends on knowing what kind of a place The Mulberry Garden was--Hester Pulter knew and disapproved highly.

Question: How much does this play depend on contemporary awareness of place?

3. Susanna Bell, The legacy of a dying mother to her mourning children being the experiences of Mrs. Susanna Bell, who died March 13, 1672

This text is of a similar date and context to Agnes Beaumont's story although the author is not Baptist but Independent (later called Congregationalist). The first writing by women was often called 'a mother's legacy' (why? The answer is in a book by Wendy Wall called The Imprint of Gender) Obviously Thomas Brooks wants to publish her writing because he feels it will reflect well on the Nonconformists (his preface is longer than her writing!).

Question: This text is nonconformist propaganda. How can you tell?

4. Thomas D'Urfey, The Royalist (1682) (this text is also on LION)

Like The Rover, this text is set in the 1650s but is written from a Tory 1680s perspective. It could not possibly have been written in the 1650s (why not?). It has a nostalgic attitude to the Cavaliers of Civil War times.

Question: What about the characterisation and plot of The Royalist is obviously written from a Tory perspective in 1682?

5. Samuel Pordage, Azaria and Hushai a poem (1682)

There were many Whig replies to Absalom and Achitophel, but this poem was generally thought to be the best. The context is exactly the same as Dryden's poem, but the political affiliation is opposite.

Question: Explain the political allegiance of this poem.