E 379M • Jane Austen (HONORS)
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
Restricted to students admitted to the English Honors Program.
This interdisciplinary single-author course is devoted to the six major novels of Jane Austen and also considers the manner in which Austen's work has recently been refashioned into major motion pictures and popular BBC television series. While this class concerns literature, history, and film, the primary emphasis will be on the study of Austen in her historical context. Thus the class will ask how Austen fits into the novel genre's development and how her stories touch upon issues of gender, economics, art, and the law of her time. In order to augment our investigations into Austen's original context, the class will include a few sessions in the HRC where we will look at original editions of the novels (including sister Cassandra Austen's copy of Mansfield Park) and ask questions about the impact of her books' original printed presentation. From our attempts to reconstruct Austen's "original reader" we will then proceed into discussion of the recent re-workings of the novels for the screen, including "adaptations" such as Clueless, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Bride & Prejudice, which recast Emma and Pride and Prejudice into a modern mold. We thus will find ourselves asking why a novelist who was, for quite some time, thought of as a parochial 18th-century throwback has won so much acclaim at the turn of the 21st century. All the films offer specific interpretations, or readings, of Austen's books. Students will be asked to come up with their own interpretations of the texts and react to the films in essays that train them in the research methodologies and writing skills needed for their required Plan I thesis.
Three close-reading essays (3 pages each; 1 rewrite) 10% each
One research essay (7-8 pages) 30%
Class presentation 20%
Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Mansfield Park (1814)
Northanger Abbey (1817)