ENEC 311—Grub Street: The Literary and the Literatory
Second exercise
Due at the start of class on October4
One-two pages, double spaced
 

William Congreve's The Way of the World (1700), is one of the most complex of all plays in English; most readers find that they practically need a chart to figure out the relationships between the characters (and you might well decide to make one yourself). But Congreve (depicted above) himself seems to sum up the point of the play in the phrase in his title; this is a play, Congreve seems to be arguing, about "the way of the world," whatever that means. For this short exercise, I'd like you to undertake a similar attempt to sum up this play (or at least the first three acts). As we did with Jane Barker, come up with a word or phrase that to your mind captures what this play is about. Again, the point is not to come up with the magic word that explains everything; what's most important is your argument about what is significant and important in Congreve's play. We'll use these short essays as a springboard into our class discussion, so come prepared to talk about your word or phrase.