The final assignment prompt is here, and over there in the sidebar. If you have questions about the assignment or need further clarification, asking here is a great way to find out what you need to know (and it makes the information available to your classmates as well.
UPDATE: The proposal is due at 8pm tomorrow.
Also, I got some e-mails over the weekend indicating some general confusion about what this assignment entails. Just to make sure everyone has the same information, I'll post some of the further explanation I supplied here, for everyone's benefit:
What you need is a scholarly book (also called a monograph) written by a historian, literary scholar, or cultural studies scholar in the field of eighteenth-century literature and culture. A great way to find such a book is through the MLA Bibliography, which you can get to through the UIUC library. If you've never used the MLA bibliography before and find yourself running into problems, the librarians in the Literatures and Languages Library (in the main UIUC library) are knowledgeable about it. Another strategy is to simply search the holdings of the UIUC Library on the online catalog using some keywords (for example, "Eighteenth Century" and "Women" or "Gender"), but this approach can yield an overwhelming number of possibilities.
"Secondary" means "written by a C20/C21 scholar" about a particular cultural subject or historical period--in our case, the C18. So you need a book written IN the late 20th/early 21st century ABOUT the eighteenth century. It needs to be a scholarly work (history, cultural studies, literary criticism), NOT fiction or poetry or drama (those would be "primary" works). So: just one book BY a scholar who is engaged in literary history or cultural criticism about the eighteenth century. You will see what the scholarly work you have chosen has to say about C18 culture, and you will identify a few key points that seem to bear in interesting ways on the novels we're reading in this course. Then you will use the books we read for the course as examples or test cases for the ideas advanced in the secondary work you have looked at. So just ANY book about eighteenth-century history or literary won't do--if it's too narrow in focus, it won't leave you with much to say about our novels!--and ideally you will choose one that discusses issues or ideas that you find particularly interesting (that will make the assignment more enjoyable).
The formulation "I just compare this book to the novels from class..." makes me a little nervous. The scholarly book you select is necessarily going to be so different from the novels we read that "comparison" doesn't quite capture how you need to bring them together--you'll need to understand the argument your C21 secondary scholarly author is making ABOUT the period (or its culture or its literature) and then test it by applying it to the novels we read. Just wanted to make sure that part was clear!
Hope this helps! Feel free to ask additional questions or get further clarification by responding to this post.