English 177-1 - Spring, 2021

Study of an Individual Author

Topic: Jane Austen

Class Information

Instructor: Roy, Parama
CRN: 62141
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
GE Areas: Writing Experience


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Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion) of her six major novels, plus Lady Susan, a short unpublished epistolary novel.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.
This class will be taught synchronously.


Weekly posts to Canvas discussion forums; a short paper (4-5 pages); a longer paper (6-7 pages); and a take-home final.


Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon, ed. Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility, ed. Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice, ed. Donald Gray and Mary A. Favret, Jane Austen
Mansfield Park, ed. Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen
Emma, ed. George Justice, Jane Austen
Persuasion, ed. Patricia Meyer Spacks, Jane Austen