Study Guide

Augustans Texts

Augustans Resources

Primary Resources

Daniel Defoe, "The True-Born Englishman" (1701)
According to Defoe, there's no such thing as a true-born Englishman. They're all mutts.

Daniel Defoe, The Shortest Way with Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church (1702)
This satirical pamphlet about the Church of England got Defoe into a whole lot of trouble.

Daniel Defoe, "A Hymn to the Pillory" (1703)
What did Defoe do when he was sentenced to three days of punishment in the gruesome pillory? Wrote about how wonderful it was.

Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books (1704)
In this satire, classical and modern books do battle in a library. Yes, really.

Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub (1704)
No it's not a satire about a tub. It's a satire about religious excess.

Richard Steele, The Tatler, Vol. 1 (1709)
Richard Steele tattles away in the first issue of The Tatler.

Joseph Addison, The Spectator, No. 1 (1711)
Joseph Addison speculates to (and about) his readers in this first issue of The Spectator.

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (1711)
It's an essay, but it's also a poem. Hey, why not?

Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712)
Ahhh! A gentleman has stolen a lady's lock of hair… and all hell breaks loose.

Alexander Pope, Windsor Forest (1713)
Pope praises the high and mighty Queen Anne in this poem.

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Okay, so the full title is The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner. That about sums it up, doesn't it?

Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess; Or, The Fatal Inquiry (1720)
Haywood sticks up for women's rights in this novel.

Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year (1722)
Defoe plays with the line between fact and fiction in this novel about the great London plague of 1665.

Daniel Defoe, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722)
Don't you just love how many Fs there are in the title of this novel? Defoe's novel tackles gender (and other) issues head on.

Jonathan Swift, The Drapier's Letters (1725)
Swift exposes how the English love messing with currency and money in Ireland—to the detriment of the Irish, naturally.

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Gulliver travels to some pretty incredible places in this novel: there's an island full of tiny people and an island full of giants, for a start.

John Gay, The Beggars' Opera (1728)
In this ballad opera, John Gay lampoons the corrupt morals of English high society.

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729)
What do you do if you have a problem with poverty in Ireland? Eat Irish babies, of course.

Samuel Richardson, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740)
Pamela, the heroine of Richardson's novel, is such a goody two-shoes that she manages to win over her oppressor, Mr. B, with her virtue.

Alexander Pope, The Dunciad in Four Books (1743)
Pope published several versions of this satire, in which he goes after his literary enemies.

Secondary Resources

Martin C. Battestin, The Providence of Wit: Aspects of Form in Augustan Literature and the Arts (1974; republished 2012)
If you want to understand issues of form in Augustan literature, you can start right here.

Steven N. Zwicker (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1650-1740 (1998)
This collection of essays covers the Augustan age and much more. It's a comprehensive introduction to the literature of the time.

Helen Deutsch, Resemblance & Disgrace: Alexander Pope and the Deformation of Culture (1996)
You'll learn a lot about Alexander Pope in this in-depth study about the author's super innovative style and themes.

John Richetti, The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography (2005)
Learn more about the topsy-turvy life of one of the age's greatest writers in this biography, which also provides an analysis of his works.

Christopher Fox (Ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Swift (2003)
This collection is packed with information about Swift and his writings.