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14. The Restoration and the 18th Century: The Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn, and Robert Burns
About this Lecture
Moving on from the Metaphysical Poets, we come to the Restoration and the 18th Century. We look firstly at the poetry of John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester, one of the most famous poets to speak about male-male love – not least in his poem ‘Love a Woman?’ Another important figure discussed in this module is Aphra Behn, the first female novelist in the English language who pushed boundaries in a different way; her novella ‘Oroonoko’ was the first to present a black hero who is sexually attractive to the (white) women who write about him. She further questions to status quo in her poem ‘Love Armed’, in which she talks about the ‘tyranny’ of love in the patriarchal society of Restoration England. Finally, we turn to the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, the author of some of the most lasting lyrics in the history of the England language. Here, we explore his touching poem ‘Ae Fond Kiss’.
This course explores the theme of love from the earliest English literature to the present day – from authors that you have likely heard of, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron and Keats, to authors that are perhaps less well-known. This is a course that celebrates love in all it forms and between all kinds of people.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Love Through the Ages - The Restoration and the 18th Century: The Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn, and Robert Burns [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/the-restoration-and-the-18th-century-the-earl-of-rochester-aphra-behn-and-robert-burns
McRae, John. "Love Through the Ages – The Restoration and the 18th Century: The Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn, and Robert Burns." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/the-restoration-and-the-18th-century-the-earl-of-rochester-aphra-behn-and-robert-burns