English 177 - Fall, 2017

Study of an Individual Author

    Topic: Jane Austen

Class Information

Instructor: Roy, Parama
CRN: 41905
Time: MWF 1:10-2:00
Location: 116 Veihmeyer

Description

    Two centuries after her death, Jane Austen may be, as she has long been, the most popular novelist in the English language. In this course we will seek to understand the sources of the popularity Austen enjoys among scholars and lay readers alike. We will study five (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion) of her six major novels, plus Lady Susan, a short unpublished epistolary novel. We will read Austen’s novels in the context of the development of her narrative method, especially the use of free indirect discourse and the reworking of a novelistic tradition that featured large numbers of women writers and readers. We will seek to situate her writing in the context of the principal political and social circumstances of her day as well as the more quotidian ones: the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars; the discourse of women’s rights; the condition of propertyless women, surplus daughters, governesses, illegitimate children, and younger sons; masculine and feminine education, work, and idleness; social mobility, debt, inheritance, and marriage; consumer culture and capitalist ideology; and the slave trade and colonialism.

    Austen’s novels may be lean by nineteenth-century standards but they are not short; four of them are in the neighborhood of 300 pages. Please begin reading them over the summer–if you have not read them already. There is no more enjoyable way to spend your break.

Grading

    One 4-5 page paper; one 8-9 page paper; one take-home final; posts to a class forum on Canvas; and attendance and participation.

Texts

    NORTHANGER ABBEY,LADY SUSAN..., ed. Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen
    Emma, ed. George Justice, ditto
    Mansfield Park, ed. Claudia L. Johnson, ditto
    Persuasion, ed. Patricia Meyer Spacks, ditto
    Pride and Prejudice, ed. Donald Gray and Mary E. Favret, Jane Austen
    SENSE and SENSIBILITY, ed. Claudia L. Johnson, ditto