From Haywood’s Fantomina to Davys’s Coquet: Amatory Fiction; w/Clarification of Reading Log Post

  1. First of all, thanks for your patience this week. I’m still trying to figure out how to conduct an online grad seminar, and you are helping me do that.
  2. First of all, the reading for the weekend is Davys’s Reform’d Coquet: or, the Memoirs of Amoranda (1724) a year earlier than Haywood’s Fantomina (1725).
  3. You’ll see that they share a few characteristics: a “coquet” heroine who enjoys masculine attention a little too much; plenty of episodes of sexually coded “variety” and freedom permitting her to enjoy fantasy and identity changes (coded as theatrical or via masquerade); a suggestion of sexual danger or threatened rape perceptible to reader if not coquet, if “things go too far”; a conclusion that shuts down the fantasy and freedom and teaches a lesson, if not to the coquet than to her readers.
  4. Brief critical readings: Toni Bowers on sex, lies, invisibility in amatory fiction, Jane Spencer on the “reformed heroine” tradition:

5. Weekend Assignment: Read and process the Haywood, Davys, Bowers, and Spencer texts in your reading log however you feel best. Reread. Take a passage from one of these texts or your notes and try to explain it further. What makes it important? How and why does it resonate with you?

Just do it as a comment to this post.

See you Monday,



Welcome to ENGL 8354: Jane Austen and her Reading

Hi everyone, this is the course blog we’ll be using all term as our discussion forum. I’ll be sending invitations to your Cougar net address, so please hit the links to create a WordPress username and password to join (not just follow) the blog. Email me (or post if you can) if you have any questions about the logistics of WordPress, Teams, etc.

Now for some announcements:

First: for our “soft opening,” we’ll do the first two classes of term via Teams, and then reassess to see how people feel about f2f (masked) and virtual (unmasked) seminar modes. You should have received your Teams invite by now.

Second: we’ll begin by reading Haywood’s Fantomina, which is extremely brief. I’ve linked to a free digital copy here:

Third: The syllabus contains another link to an open access text by Suzanne Akbari, How We Read, which offers essays on different modes and experiences of reading. Please download the book and look over Akbari’s Introduction along with Fantomina for the first class.

And here’s the syllabus:

We’ll discuss all of this on Teams tomorrow evening.

See you soon,