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You are here: Home Courses Middlebury-CMRS Course List HST/14 The Golden Age of the Aristocracy, 1660 to 1832

HST/14 The Golden Age of the Aristocracy, 1660 to 1832

The Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 also ushered in an era of unprecedented power, wealth and display for the English aristocracy. Ferocity of political strife was succeeded by comparative peace at home and prosperity for the elite, in which much political and social competition took the form of the patronage of writers, artists, architects and landscape gardeners.  In investigating the central questions of English history in the ‘long eighteenth century’, students therefore not only employ a remarkable range of written sources, but also some stunning visual ones too. 

Sample Syllabus

  • Restoring Aristocracy
  • Whigs and Tories in their Glories: the Strife of Party
  • Locke and the Theory of Aristocracy
  • ‘What dire offence from am’rous Causes springs’: Court & Country Culture
  • Just How Open was this Elite?
  • ‘The manners of a dancing master’: Chesterfield & Aristocratic Education
  • Aristocratic Landscape and Treasure Houses: Blenheim, Stowe & Chatsworth
  • Reform and the Beginning of the End?


Introductory Reading

  • Stone, L. & Stone, J.C.F., An Open Elite? England, 1540-1880. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986 (and subsequent editions)
  • Rosenheim, J.M., The Emergence of a Ruling Order: English Landed Society 1650-1750. London: Longman, 1997
  • Girouard, M., Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979
  • Arnold, D.,  The Georgian Country House: Architecture, Landscape and Society. Stroud: Sutton, 1998
  • Locke, J., Two Treatises of Government. R. Ashcraft ed., London: Allen & Unwin, 1988
  • Pope, A., The Rape of the Lock.  (Many editions)
  • Chesterfield, P.D.S., Earl of, Letters. D. Roberts ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008
I found myself in this place
Down the cobbled streets of Shoe Lane stood a tall red building that I was told was once a shirt factory.  This place that once was for the purpose o...
Barney Dujua, Spring Semester 2009, Elmhurst College