This module introduces students to Jane Austen, focusing on the language, politics, representational technique, literary style, and historical significance of the novels. Students will consider issues of reception and adaptation, and resonances in modern global culture, with particular reference to the USA and China. Students will also consider how the novels embody and represent historical and cultural issues, with a particular focus on Austen’s ‘woman’s sentence’. Through reading, watching (in filmed productions), and discussing Austen’s novels, students will develop advanced skills in critical thinking and persuasive literary-critical writing.
Overall the module aims to:
• Introduce students to Austen’s novels, covering texts which are common cultural reference points;
• Provide historical, theoretical, formal, and thematic frameworks for thinking about and interpreting texts by Austen, her influences and contemporaries
• Encourage consideration of relationships between texts and contexts, production and reception, in national and global perspectives
• Encourage original and persuasive responses to texts, informed by close reading and knowledge of key interpretative perspectives
A. read and respond critically to Austen as a nineteenth-century author and as a figure in historic and contemporary popular culture
B. analyze Austen texts with an appropriate combination of formal, contextual, and theoretical approaches
C. structure coherent, informed, detailed and reflective critical essays about Austen
The teaching sessions are divided into lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce relevant knowledge and ideas. Seminars facilitate reflective critical discussions about specific texts and contexts. Screenings allow students to see and reflect on Austen in adaptation and in popular culture.