Jane Austen: Romantics and Revolution

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Jane Austen: Romantics and Revolution

<p>Jane Austen is an iconic figure for scholars and fans alike. In this course we will examine four of her novels, as well as a range of popular contemporary adaptations in order fully appreciate her

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Jane Austen is an iconic figure for scholars and fans alike. In this course we will examine four of her novels, as well as a range of popular contemporary adaptations in order fully appreciate her influence over literary forms, including the way her writing helped to consolidate the codes of the realist novel. We will also analyse how these novels participate in the social and political debates that characterised the early 1800s.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen
  • Emma, Alexander McCall Smith
  • Eligibility, Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Pride and Prejudice (1995, BBC), dir. Simon Langton
  • Persuasion (1995, BBC), dir. Roger Michell
  • Persuasion (2007, ITV), dir. Adrian Shergold


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Austen’s First Novel – Northanger Abbey: In our introductory class we examine the status of the novel in the eighteenth century, the most popular genres and codes of fiction. We will examine Austen’s earliest novel and famous defence of the novel in Northanger Abbey.
  • The Most Popular Girl at the Party – Pride and Prejudice I: Arguably Austen’s most admired heroine, this week we will focus our discussion around the enduring figure of Elizabeth Bennet and consider the contentious virtue: wit.
  • Who’s the True Hero? Pride and Prejudice II: This week we will continue our discussion of Pride and Prejudice, but shift our focus to consider the codification of heroism.
  • Forgotten Fanny – Mansfield Park: Perhaps Austen’s darkest novel, this week we will discuss the abject position that young Fanny Price finds herself in, and consider the darkest impulses of Austen’s realism.
  • Liberté, égalité, fraternité - Persuasion: This week we will contextualise Austen’s final complete novel and examine the impact that the French Revolution was having upon genteel society and masculinity in the early nineteenth century.
  • Afterlives – Popular Reception and Adaptations of Austen: In our final week we will discuss Austen’s enduring appeal and the cult of personality that surrounds her.



PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe essential features of the realist novel and discuss Austen’s experimentation with the gothic and romantic.
  2. Analyse four of Austen’s novel in relation to their historical, social, and political context.
  3. Appreciate Austen’s influence within the Western canon and the way in which her novel’s consolidate the novel form.
  4. Explain the significance of free indirect discourse and discuss Austen’s contribution to this narrative innovation.
  5. Produce their own historicised close reading of an Austen novel of their choosing.